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Roadblocks to Successful Growth Mindset in Bilingual Classrooms

A growth mindset is quite common in education. Learning about the growth mindset, especially for ELL students or second language learners, may not come easy.

The idea of making mistakes and trying again is not a popular one. In a bilingual classroom where students come from different backgrounds, a growth mindset is not an approach seen as part of learning.

Besides, students regard language learning as another essential aspect in school that they have to master. So, you often might have students that face challenges with a fixed mindset. How can you motivate those students with a fixed mindset to grow into their education? 

What is the Growth Mindset in Education?

The principle of growth mindset in education is not a new concept. Dr. Carol Dweck established the notion that individuals, especially learners, believe their minds perform in one way or the other.

That is, students, as they learn, can either convey a fixed or a growth mindset towards learning. More specifically, after countless research, Dr. Dweck concluded that students facing challenges in problem-solving are prone to flourish with more difficult ones.

In essence, students with a growth mindset can seek solutions and learn from mistakes. A student with a fixed mindset may only see wrong and right answers as part of learning. When they open to new possibilities, a fixed mindset transforms into a more meaningful learning experience. 

growth mindset

Growth Mindset Encouragement in Bilingual Classrooms

Maintaining a positive growth mindset in a bilingual classroom is crucial for ELL or dual immersion students. Trying one set of pedagogy approach to learning can lead to success or setbacks.

That is why encouraging your students in a bilingual or dual language class needs careful planning. You know your lesson plans better than anyone.

Regardless of whether you have activities or instruction with the latest technology, you know your students need that motivation to challenge themselves. But, what is one way that you can keep on encouraging them?

  • Use gallery walks of students’ work.
  • Then, ask them to write down feedback to their classmates.
  • Also, what are two possible outcomes to specific questions?
  • Perhaps, your students prefer to work in stepwise projects.
  • Develop strategies that your students can manage and be successful.
  • Create scaffolding techniques in writing.
  • More importantly, use the word ‘yet’ when some tasks that seem difficult.
  • For example, change the phrase ‘I can’t do it’ to ‘I can’t do it, yet.’

In this way, students understand that there’s a step-by-step process in learning.  

Avoiding Roadblocks to Motivate ELL Students

ELL students and dual immersion learners encounter many language skills challenges. Face with language barriers; these students must recognize that learning is a process.

As a bilingual teacher, I often faced these roadblock in motivating ELL students in the classroom. Solving problems or challenges does not come natural to students that otherwise face detrimental socio-economic situations.

That is one of the many issues I discuss in a recent interview on the Rorschach Your Reality Podcast. Along with Hannah, the host of the podcast, I talk about the many roadblocks teachers face in the classroom when motivating students to learn.

Issues such as cultural awareness, students’ backgrounds, and learning are part of barriers for a growth mindset. More importantly, recognizing that implementing a growth mindset principle in the classroom requires consistency rather than structured instruction.

In the end, you want students to develop skills to learn for a lifetime. 

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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