Growth mindset increasingly seen as important to K12 student success
- The concept of having a growth mindset in the classroom continues to gain traction in K-12 schools, stressing the importance of non-cognitive skills like perseverance and self motivation to help with the learning of subjects like reading and math.
- The concept is part of a holistic approach to learning which considers the whole child, instead of the rote memorization of learning topics.
- A growth mindset refers to the positive belief in a student's ability to use their brain like a muscle that can grow, change, and strengthen, overcoming failure to succeed at various diverse tasks.
Social-emotional learning approaches are continuing to be an upward trend, yet their increasing popularity has given rise to a need for accountability, some say. Experts at the American Educational Research Association's annual conference cited a need for social-emotional skills to have standardized measures for evaluation if they are going to play a continued role in K-12 education. Education Week has reported that the research on social-emotional learning still hasn't caught up with the emphasis on teaching social-emotional learning, which has been proven to help many students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Some states are at the forefront of the issue. California has already started a new initiative that will test students on emotional skills in eight districts; a study conducted in 2011 showed teaching social emotional skills helps students improve academic performance by 11%. Still, testing social emotional skills is tricky and controversial, since no single way to evaluate such skills exists. To complicate matters, it's even unclear which traits would even be considered desirable across the board, since they're subjective and could vary from school to school and community to community.