How exactly do you help students switch mindsets? Here are some strategies that have proven effective for helping them make this transition.
- Help students recognize their strengths and their weaknesses. Show them how to use their strengths to develop their weak areas or find learning partners who are strong in areas where they may be weak.
- Provide descriptive, accurate, and constructive feedback that focuses on how students can develop themselves in specific tasks or skill areas.
- Focus praise on the effort students put forth toward a goal.
- Offer authentic challenges on issues they or others care about that will take time, effort, and persistence to solve.
- Teach specific skills of studying, organization, metacognition, time management, goal setting, and monitoring.
- Use preassessments to help students recognize what they already know/understand and are able to do, and what they don’t know/understand and are not yet able to do. Be mindful that students may perceive preassessments as shameful (especially if they are in the fixed mindset). Reassure students that preassessments are meant to focus teaching and learning.
- When teaching discrete strategies, show students how using the strategy will help them develop certain skills. Some gifted students are whole to part learners and may avoid practicing discrete strategies (part) if they don’t understand how it leads to greater skill development (whole).
- Structure time throughout the day when students can reflect on their learning process, talk with others about tasks that were easy or difficult, or take note of their personal feelings on the topic.
- Create learning activities where students will need to rely on others to complete the tasks. In these “unlike” groups, students learn to appreciate other people’s skills and realize they have skills unique to themselves.
- Continually support students by showing them how their efforts lead to success.
From Differentiation for Gifted Learners: Going Beyond the Basics by Diane Heacox, Ed.D., and Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., copyright © 2014. Free Spirit Publishing Inc., Minneapolis, MN; 800-735-7323; www.freespirit.com. For more strategies for teaching gifted students check out Differentiation for Gifted Learners.
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