I'm so excited to be back blogging and I’m going to jump straight in with a topic which can be applied to everyone! I’ve been doing a lot of reading around mindset. I think mindset is something we can continue to grow and learn about but also something that is really important for myself and my team to pass on to our students.
Society is changing and we now live in an 'instant' world, we expect instant gratification. We can send a message and get an instant response, instead of calling on a land line and hoping someone will pick up. We can load a picture up to social media and feel instantly good about ourselves as the likes start rolling in. Its very clear that our students today are growing up in a world very different to the one that we grew up in.
With this new 'instant' world, we are finding more and more as dance teacher's that students are expecting to get a new skill instantly. They experience frustration when it doesn't come to them in one lesson, maybe even a bit of a knock to their confidence. We hear lines such as 'I'm never going to get it', 'this is too hard', or even 'this is boring' when we are honing in on one skill to try to get it right.
So, I've been talking to my students a lot this term started about Talent vs Grit and also Fixed vs Growth Mindset (but in kid language!). We've spoken about how Grit involves hard work, how you're going to want to give up at times and its not going to be easy but how Grit almost always beats Talent in the long run. Then in comes the mindset - which I will delve into a little bit deeper below. One thing I need to add before moving on is that I have seen a massive shift in focus and improvement in performance from in particular our Junior Performance Teams since focusing on Grit and Mindset. These students are less focused on placing at upcoming competitions (because there are too many factors beyond their control) and are more focused on ensuring they give their full effort in every run through. Now, giving their full effort doesn’t just mean going full out each time, it means turning up with their props, standing attentively unless asked to sit, being in the right position, applying corrections week to week and what I love the most is that when asked they are able to articulate back to me how the run through of the dance went. My highlight was a 6 year old being able to say ‘the run through felt good I was in the right position and using my face, I did go the wrong way on the hips section so I need to fix that for next time’.
So in saying all of that here goes - mindset!
In order to have Grit we also require a growth mindset. Fixed mindsets focus on their talents 'I'm either good at something or I'm not', 'when I'm frustrated I give up', 'failures are the limits of my abilities'. Fixed mindsets believe that their talent alone will lead to success and that effort is not required. While a Growth Mindset believes their abilities can be developed through hardwork and dedication 'I can learn to do anything I want', 'my effort and attitude determine my abilities,' failure is an opportunity to grow'. Growth Mindset realise that their effort has an effect on their success, so they put in extra time, leading to higher achievement in the long run. A fixed mindset will hold you back from making positive change. If someone has a trait that they believe cannot be changed, then they will avoid situations that could possibly be uncomfortable or that they think they are not got at.
So how do we change our fixed mindset to a growth a mindset?
First we need to acknowledge it and know that our mindset isn’t going to change overnight, its going to take practice and we’re going to need to make ourselves aware of those fixed mindset moments.
We need to embrace our weaknesses - identify them and then put some SMART goals in place.
Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back - look at challenges as opportunities to grow and learn.
Focus on the process not the end result! We can’t focus on the win because there are too many factors beyond our control, focus on the process and factors that you can control and be accountable for.
Focus on learning rather than the approval of others. Don’t worry about what others think of you and focus on bettering yourself.
As teachers, parents and industry leaders we can help cultivate a growth mindset in our students, children and team members by rewarding effort and actions rather than traits and talent!
Learn to accept constructive criticism. A fixed mindset takes constructive criticism personally while a growth mindset views this as a gift - someone is willing to help you learn and help you work on your weaknesses.
Never stop learning - we can never know everything! So keep setting goals and keep striving to learn. As adults this could be reading, listening to podcasts, trying a new skill! Be open to learning and all that comes with this process.
This is a tough concept for younger ones to grasp but something I'm really passionate about passing on, as I believe it can help our dancers in all aspects of schooling and life. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and I promise to continue to share more as I continue to learn more
Miss Dani x