Can self-regulation promote growth mindsets?

path to goals

I recently watched a Teaching Channel video which encouraged teachers to help children develop growth mindsets by providing challenging work. I had an aha moment, growth mindsets can be developed through teaching self regulation when faced with challenging tasks and developing self-efficacy. The research is readily available but more can be done to raise our awareness that classroom teachers daily use these tools from educational psychology in classroom practices.

According to Carol Dweck, in a growth mindset , people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. When teachers focus students on learning from set backs and praise their efforts rather than how smart they are, increased learning and greater self efficacy are often the results.

In the video, the teacher presents challenging problem solving tasks and then works with her students to find the correct strategy to solve the problem. This is where SRL becomes the managing agent of the challenging task. In order to work successfully the students are reminded to ask for help when they are “stuck”, and to justify their need for help by stating where they are in the process.  One of the statements made by the teacher featured in the video reveals her goal to have her students work through challenges by persevering to solving the problem, not necessarily arrive at the correct answer. As they work through the problems the teacher guides them by modeling and calling attention to strategic choices that can be used by the students to refine their thinking and responses.

Growth mindsets, self-regulation, and self-efficacy are researched based theoretical frameworks for educating all students. Our diverse classrooms will benefit from strategic approaches to learning using these tools in conjunction with standards based education.

Links: The lesson responded to Common Core Math Standards that require students to “Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them” (Math Practice Standard 1). Teaching Channel video (


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s