Title

Developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ through Language Teaching

Subject Area

Foreign Language Pedagogy

Abstract

Language teachers have the opportunity to imprint a lifelong learning framework on students that will impact them far beyond the language classroom. By virtue of the subject matter, Language teaching is unique—particularly in higher education—in that its primary objective is to develop a skill: understanding and communicating in the target language. As such, we can chart improvement over time. Students, though, may have trouble understanding the mindset behind the madness; in other words, they may see language learning in binary terms: “I can or I can’t,” “I’m good at it or I’m not.” This is known as the “fixed mindset,” and many students have adopted this as their default attitude (often without evening realizing it!) upon arriving to our classes. The language classroom is the ideal setting to impart a change and begin to instill the “growth mindset.” In the language classroom, the “growth mindset” focuses on improvement while instilling nuggets of resilience and grit, positive attributes transferable to other areas of life. This presentation will define the “growth mindset” within the context of language teaching and explain strategies that facilitate its implementation in the foreign language curriculum, noting the carry-over to other areas of life. Additionally, I will explain how to apply the ACTFL proficiency standards through the growth mindset paradigm as a tool to chart improvement, as well as assessment strategies that foster a growth (rather than a fixed) mindset.

Brief Bio Note

Grant Gearhart is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Georgia Southern University's Armstrong Campus in Savannah. He frequently presents papers on a range of topics from best practices in teaching to medieval and renaissance peninsular literature.

Keywords

growth mindset, resilience, kaizen

Presentation Year

October 2020

Start Date

10-23-2020 12:00 PM

End Date

10-23-2020 12:40 PM

Embargo

12-20-2019

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Oct 23rd, 12:00 PM Oct 23rd, 12:40 PM

Developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ through Language Teaching

Language teachers have the opportunity to imprint a lifelong learning framework on students that will impact them far beyond the language classroom. By virtue of the subject matter, Language teaching is unique—particularly in higher education—in that its primary objective is to develop a skill: understanding and communicating in the target language. As such, we can chart improvement over time. Students, though, may have trouble understanding the mindset behind the madness; in other words, they may see language learning in binary terms: “I can or I can’t,” “I’m good at it or I’m not.” This is known as the “fixed mindset,” and many students have adopted this as their default attitude (often without evening realizing it!) upon arriving to our classes. The language classroom is the ideal setting to impart a change and begin to instill the “growth mindset.” In the language classroom, the “growth mindset” focuses on improvement while instilling nuggets of resilience and grit, positive attributes transferable to other areas of life. This presentation will define the “growth mindset” within the context of language teaching and explain strategies that facilitate its implementation in the foreign language curriculum, noting the carry-over to other areas of life. Additionally, I will explain how to apply the ACTFL proficiency standards through the growth mindset paradigm as a tool to chart improvement, as well as assessment strategies that foster a growth (rather than a fixed) mindset.