Research continues to show the benefits of social-emotional learning (SEL), especially with elementary-age students. But as SEL gains ground, educators need to think about best practices for adding it to their classroom. One of those approaches includes using a growth mindset.

In “SEL and Academic Learning Catalyst: Growth Mindset,” presenters Dr. Desiree Margo, principal at Redmond Early Learning Center, and Dr. Kendra Coates, Growing Early Mindsets (GEM) author and professional learning specialist at Mindset Works, explain why a growth mindset is the strongest foundation for both SEL and academic learning. They caution, however, that both principles need to be integrated into the regular classroom and throughout school activities to achieve the best results.

Related: 10 signs you’re doing SEL right

Here's how a growth mindset can help you with SEL

First, Coates explains that in a growth mindset, all forms of intelligence abilities, skills, and talents are malleable. Rather than viewing mistakes or setbacks as a sign of low ability or intelligence, students and educators who embrace a growth mindset will actually view the challenge as an opportunity. They are inspired by the success of others and may use them as an impetus to work harder rather than seeing someone else’s success as a threat.

About the Author:

Stacey Pusey is an education communications consultant and writer. She assists education organizations with content strategy and teaches writing at the college level. Stacey has worked in the preK-12 education world for 20 years, spending time on school management and working for education associations including the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group. Stacey is working with edWeb.net as a marketing communications advisor and writer.


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