Evidence That It Works
Cultivating a growth mindset–one that embraces rather than fears mistakes–has been found by researchers to have a plethora of benefits. For example, a growth mindset can improve academic performance, increase well-being, boost social competence, reduce bias, and promote prosocial (kind, helpful) behavior.
Why Does It Matter?
Not wanting to make mistakes may be motivated by a fear of failure–a complicated human conundrum at best that is connected to our self-worth. For instance, studies have found that “overstrivers,” (i.e., students who tell everyone that they have very little time to prepare for an upcoming test and then spend the entire night studying) are afraid that failure will confirm their greatest fear—that they’re not perfect.
Thus, by helping students to see mistakes as opportunities for growth, teachers are placing more importance on students’ efforts rather than their “innate” ability–and putting students’ self-worth where it belongs: on the sole fact that they are imperfect but gloriously wonderful human beings.