We often hear boys in the ELC say such things as I can’t do it or I don’t know how to do it when engaging in an experience that may require some challenging thinking from the boys or is a new experience they have not yet tried.
This is all related to the mindset of a child, the thinking, the perseverance, the self-confidence and the participation they use when engaging with a provocation. Children have two types of mindsets, a growth mindset or a fixed mindset, both very different from each other, especially in regard to their interactions and participation. We want the boys to feel empowered, courageous and confident within themselves every day, not just at ELC. We want them to be guided by the power of yet.
Intertwining with the Reggio Emilia approach, the power of yet is not about the outcome but is about the process leading to that outcome, the part of the experience that involves the boys to use their problem solving, physical, observational and critical thinking skills. When the boys are facing a challenge of any kind and verbalise I can’t do it, we say, you can, but might not be able to do it yet. This then leads to discussions about what processes they can do to continue to reach that outcome. When one of the boy’s says, I don’t know how to do it, can you do it for me?, we use this opportunity to help show them how capable they are and how things may take some time. By adding the word yet to the end of a fixed mindset statement, the boys are transforming to growth mindsets, enabling them to understand that some outcomes take time to achieve. With perseverance and some critical thinking, it can be done.
Education and the Power of Yet is a process towards a hope for the future. One thing builds upon another, it teaches students to take small steps and remember that life is a journey, not a destination. Perhaps we need to enjoy and praise our student’s journey (as well as our own) a little bit more than we already do. No matter who you are or what life hands you, you have the potential for growth. You have the potential to develop your skills. You have the potential to achieve in your own way. I am a big fan of that three-lettered word ‘yet’. It is a powerful word if you think about it and how it can change your way of thinking.
How do you help your son at home when they face a challenge or outcome they cannot achieve quickly? Do you praise the process or the outcome achieved?
Early Years Teacher