How does a growth mindset apply to trauma-exposed students?
We need to tap into the base of knowledge and core of resilience that trauma-exposed students bring to the educational process. We should view them through the lens of an asset-based stance that focuses on their resilience, determination, talents, and skills that will be key to fulfilling their future hopes and dreams.
To do this, we can train students to use positive self-talk and develop a growth mindset. They can learn to choose between learned helplessness (a result of the trauma) and the ability to work hard and make good choices in order to experience positive consequences. The growth mindset takes good fortune out of the realm of good luck and places it solidly into the hands of students.
To successfully implement a growth mindset, it is important to emphasize hard work and effort, not innate talent, as key to success (Dweck, 2016). Instead of saying “you’re so smart!” we should say things like, “You got a good grade on that test because you worked hard and studied for many hours.” “Your /r/ sound is a lot better, and I can tell that you have been practicing your /r/ words at home with your mom.”
This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the course, 20Q: Providing Supportive Intervention for Trauma-Exposed Students With Communication Disorders, presented by Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, PhD CCC-SLP, F-ASHA