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Grit, Growth and Resilience: The Value of a Growth Mindset
Erin Morrison (Teacher) and Ava Taylor (Third Grade Student)

Navin Elementary School

It is a theme used across the district, but growth mindset is proving to be more than just words on a wall. 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, and in Marysville Schools, it is quickly becoming a part of everyday learning.

“Every Monday we have something called Mindset Monday and last week we learned about the pathways between the neurons,” third-grade teacher Erin Morrison said. “If you want to strengthen those pathways and become smarter, it takes hard work and perseverance.”

Growth mindset is the goal, as compared to having a fixed mindset, where effort to continue learning is stopped.

“When we learn something new,” third-grade student Ava T. said, “like we’re learning fractions in math, the neuron in our brain is a really skinny thread. But when we learn more and more, it gets stronger and stronger.

“If you give yourself a negative thought like, ‘I can’t do this, anymore. I’m not going to practice this,’ then it gets tiny again and you forget how to do it.”

The exciting thing for Morrison and other teachers is seeing the results of their labor. Students are making the effort to not give up.

Morrison added: “It was so neat to see last week in math, one of my students raised his hand and said, ‘Mrs. Morrison, we just made a new pathway connection between our neurons. It’s going to take practice to get it stronger, but we can do it.’ It was like a light bulb went off. They’re listening and they’re verbalizing it. They know that even though it’s challenging, that’s OK.”

Morrison has noticed a difference between how students react to difficult subjects as compared to the past.

“Before, kids would get frustrated,” she said. “I don’t think they understood how to handle challenging situations. Now they know that it’s normal. It’s been really neat to see the kids embrace that and use the growth mindset in the classroom.”
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