As our world continues to evolve at an increasing rate, one of the best ways educators can prepare their students for the future is to provide them with an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. Though technical skills such as the ability to code and use professional software are important, an even more crucial learning outcome is the development of a growth mindset — the belief that through effort and dedication, a person’s abilities can improve, and that even the most difficult challenges have solutions.
Read below to learn three ways educators can promote this type of thinking in their classrooms!
Focus on Engagement
For meaningful learning to occur, students must first feel engaged with the material. In other words, it’s essential for them to understand how the subject matter relates to their lives. Encouraging students to ask questions and giving them the opportunity to lead discussions are great ways to develop natural excitement that can spread throughout a classroom! Though giving students newfound agency might introduce a degree of unpredictability in your lesson planning, the payoff is well worth it and will lead to a learning environment where children are eager to participate.
Embrace Guided Play
Including guided play within a classroom setting is another great way to develop a growth mindset. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), guided play allows children to learn in an environment intentionally designed to guide them toward concrete learning outcomes. This hands-on educational approach encourages a child’s natural curiosity and helps to develop critical “soft skills” including creativity, persistence and problem solving. By giving your students the freedom to explore STEM concepts on their own terms, you’ll provide them with the chance to discover something they are passionate about.
Introduce Inspiring Role Models
According to research from Opportunity Insights, exposure to innovation from a young age substantially increases the likelihood that children will become innovative when they grow up. Introducing relatable STEM role models to your students will show them what they too can achieve through persistence and hard work. Because role models motivate and inspire those who look up to them, incorporating these figures in the context of your lesson planning is an effective way to bring an extra boost of creative energy into your classroom.
Learn More About NIHF’s Innovative STEM Programming
At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we pride ourselves on providing innovative STEM learning through our education programs. By incorporating lessons inspired by our very own NIHF Inductees, we are able to provide a unique experience that can help students develop creative solutions to complex problems. For more information, we encourage you to visit our website!