King School Knows a Growth Mind­set is Key to Rais­ing Healthy Chil­dren

Greenwich Time - - NEWS / FROM THE FRONT PAGE -

It’s hard to spend even a brief mo­ment in the world of ed­u­ca­tion these days with­out hear­ing about the im­por­tance of “grit” or “re­silience” or the role of a “growth mind­set” in rais­ing healthy chil­dren and ado­les­cents. King School em­pha­sizes self-knowl­edge, fear­less learn­ing, and re­spect­ful chal­lenge, which en­cour­age a growth mind­set. This mind­set leads to stu­dents’ achiev­ing their per­sonal best in the class­room, on the stage, and on the ath­letic fields. Marnie Sad­lowsky, King As­so­ciate Head of School for Pro­gram, Head of Up­per School, adds, “Young peo­ple who are more re­silient usu­ally have a stronger sense of their ‘self­con­cept’ or their ‘core of self.’ As we rightly fo­cus on par­ent­ing, coach­ing, teach­ing, and coun­sel­ing our ado­les­cents to be­come re­silient, we must re­al­ize that a key part of the equa­tion is that ado­les­cents need to have a sense of who they are, what they value and hold dear, and how they in turn can em­pathize with and play im­por­tant roles in their fam­i­lies and larger com­mu­ni­ties.” At King, ex­pert fac­ulty en­cour­age stu­dents to meet chal­lenges head on and learn to say, “I haven’t mas­tered this skill YET” or “I’m still work­ing on un­der­stand­ing de­riv­a­tives” rather than “I’m a bad writer” or “I guess I’ll never be good at math.” King teach­ers un­der­stand that it’s not as ef­fec­tive to say, “my goal is to get an A in math” as it is to say, “My goal is to put my phone away when I prac­tice math prob­lems, seek ex­tra help from my teacher reg­u­larly, and es­tab­lish bet­ter study habits for larger tests.” Ado­les­cents who un­der­stand that re­peated prac­tice re­quires de­layed grat­i­fi­ca­tion are of­ten more suc­cess­ful in school and in life. To over­sim­plify Julie Lyth­cott-Haims’ work in How to Raise an Adult, learn­ing of­ten re­quires real chal­lenges, and these chal­lenges do not al­ways feel im­me­di­ately plea­sur­able or grat­i­fy­ing. But stu­dents who have a growth mind­set—who don’t see their abil­i­ties as fixed—are more likely to sus­tain im­prove­ment and achieve­ment rates while avoid­ing the poi­son of per­fec­tion­ism. That’s be­cause they’re able to work through dis­com­fort. One of the pri­mary tasks of ado­les­cence is to in­di­vid­u­ate, or to ex­pe­ri­ence one­self as an in­creas­ingly in­de­pen­dent be­ing out­side of the pri­mary par­ent re­la­tion­ship. In or­der to de­velop a strong sense of self, ado­les­cents need to feel that the adults in their lives of­fer a con­sis­tent, faith­ful pres­ence (not a friend­ship) and a will­ing­ness to re­ally get to know them. King un­der­stands that re­la­tion­ships be­tween stu­dents and teach­ers are at the core of aca­demic ex­cel­lence since stu­dents who feel known, sup­ported, and safe are able to take ap­pro­pri­ate risks that will lead to aca­demic and per­sonal growth. “Learn­ing to be a fear­less learner is such an im­por­tant skill for stu­dents to­day. At King, we teach that the world is complicated and you can nav­i­gate it,” said Ms. Sad­lowsky King School is host­ing open houses for its Mid­dle and Up­per Schools on Oct. 14, and the Lower School on Nov. 4. The Open Houses are truly open. Ar­rive any­time be­tween 1:00-4:00 p.m. and ex­plore the many el­e­ments of a King ed­u­ca­tion at your own pace and on your own self-guided tour. Learn more at www.kingschoolct.org.

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