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Science supports it: attitude is everything!

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Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 2:45 PM

By Jacqueline Juliana

Above the copy machine in the work room at Bayfield Primary School, there are several inspirational signs posted.

One of these signs assigns a numerical percent value to each letter according to its place in the alphabet.

For example, A=1%, B=2%, C=3% and so forth. Given these place values, the poster intimates that knowledge is equal to 96 percent of what it takes to be successful. Hard work accounts for 98 percent of success, but attitude is equivalent to 100 percent.

I'd always thought of this as clever, and a fun reminder of the importance of a positive attitude, but nothing more until Rob Stafford, counselor at Bayfield Elementary School, invited Liza Tregillus to speak to a group of parents.

Tregillus, a veteran social worker in Durango and founder of Tregillus Intentional Parenting (www.lizatip.com), introduced us to the concept of the Growth Mindset.

Mindset and attitude are basically synonymous, however, the term "Growth Mindset" was coined by Stanford University Psychologist Carol Dwerk after decades of investigating success and achievement.

Those who have a Growth Mindset believe they can broaden their knowledge base and improve their skills with wise effort and hard work. The mindset itself provides the motivation for effort, perseverance and grit and not the reverse.

Research shows that children with a Growth Mindset are more interested in the process of learning as opposed to being concerned about their grade. They also lean into challenges and cope with failures more productively than children with "fixed mindsets," the belief that talent and abilities are inherent and minimally malleable.

The great news is that there are many things you can do to promote a Growth Mindset. First and foremost, learn more about it! Watch Eduardo Briceno's TED talk on youtube, "The Power of Belief-Mindset and Success."

Secondly, instead of praising your children for a particular outcome, praise them for process-related skills such as working hard, being mindful, thinking things through and sticking with a difficult task.

When you learn how you learn, you can apply these strategies to different areas and improve your achievement all around.

Ms. J is the counselor at Bayfield Primary School. She loves to play with kids, learn new things and take her dog for walks. Ms. J definitely has a Growth Mindset. She can be reached at jjuliana@bayfield.k12.co.us or 884-0881.

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