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February 25, 2020 REL Topic - Catechesis, REL PD - Catechist, REL PD - Leaders, REL Topic - Methodology

Why a Growth Mindset Matters for Religious Education

Take a minute to consider yourself in your current role in religious education. Whether you are a parish catechetical leader or a Catholic School administrator, a catechist or teacher, or a parent, or play another role in ministry, your mindset is an important aspect of your role! This post will help you develop key attributes to exercise a “growth mindset.” The end result? You’ll see challenges as opportunities and be more prepared to tackle problems and impact positive change in your community. You can download Growth Mindset Tip Sheets for School and Parish to take along with you and share with colleagues, too. Available in English and Spanish.

why-a-growth-mindset-matters-in-catholic-religious-education

“Growth Mindset” vs. “Fixed Mindset”

Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, identified two core mindsets: a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” Dweck’s research came from questioning the different ways children face obstacles. She was curious as to why some persist, and others shrink back. A “fixed mindset” is the belief that a person’s abilities are set. A “growth mindset” is the belief that a person can grow their abilities and skills through their own efforts. According to Dweck’s work, not everyone has a fixed or a growth mindset all the time. But a growth mindset can be developed. Dweck is the author Mindset: The New Psychology of Success which deeply explores the “growth mindset.”

What’s Your Mindset?

Dweck’s work demonstrates that our successes can be influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. In your role in religious education, would you say that you have a “fixed mindset” or a “growth mindset”? Do you believe that your abilities are fixed? Or do you believe that your abilities can be developed? Having and exercising a “growth mindset” can help you take on challenges and turn them into opportunities.

Putting a “Growth Mindset” to Work in Parishes

For those with a fixed mindset, challenges are seen as obstacles. Today’s parishes may face challenges such the engagement of young people and families, pastoral changes, or a lack of resources. Obstacles like these can lead to parish staff feeling ineffective and the parish community disengaged. This combination can have a negative effect on parish vibrancy.

Having and exercising a “growth mindset” can help you take on challenges and turn them into opportunities.

But if these obstacles can be viewed as opportunities to try new efforts and utilize new tools and creative ideas, parish staff can feel empowered. This combination can boost vibrancy as well as engagement throughout the parish.

Here are five key attributes that can support the development of a “growth mindset” for parish catechetical leaders:

  • Resilience: see failures as a chance to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to try to something new.
  • Collaboration: allow yourself to be mentored and supported by those on your team or others.
  • Optimism: be open to the idea that new ideas are transformative and might just work!
  • Perseverance: be willing to keep trying or to adjust new plans and efforts when the unexpected happens, you’re met with resistance, or new challenges arise.
  • Determination: know that through your dedicated effort you can make a change and inspire others.

Download a Growth Mindset Tip Sheet for parish leaders. Use it to exercise your growth mindset by practicing these attributes and share it with colleagues to impact change in your parish community.

Growth Mindset Tip Sheet for Parish Leaders

Download Now

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Putting a “Growth Mindset” to Work in Catholic Schools

For those with a fixed mindset, challenges are seen as obstacles. Like today’s parishes, Catholic schools may face challenges such as enrollment, funding, and maintaining Catholic identity. These factors can impact a Catholic school’s culture and climate and the feelings of staff and students alike. In changing times, opportunities abound.

Here are five key attributes that can support the development of a “growth mindset” for parish catechetical leaders:

  • Resilience: see failures as a chance to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to try to something new.
  • Collaboration: allow yourself to be mentored and supported by those on your team or others.
  • Optimism: be open to the idea that new ideas are transformative and might just work!
  • Creativity: be willing to try something totally new and different.
  • Perseverance: be willing to keep trying or to adjust new plans and efforts when the unexpected happens, you’re met with resistance, or new challenges arise.
  • Determination: know that through your dedicated effort you can make a change and inspire others.

Download a Growth Mindset Tip Sheet for Catholic school leaders. Use it to exercise your growth mindset by practicing these attributes and share it with colleagues to impact change in your Catholic School.

Growth Mindset In Catholic Schools Tip Sheet

Download Now

Descargar ahora

Supporting Students in Developing a “Growth Mindset”

Guess what? Children of all ages can benefit from a “growth mindset” and parents, catechists and teachers can help foster a “growth mindset” in their religious education students. This mindset can support Catholic kids as they take on challenges and obstacles in their religious education classrooms but also as they are living out their faith as missionary disciples. Help them understand the difference between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” Encourage them to exercise their own “growth mindsets” by practicing the key attributes. And let them know that they can make great change in the world as disciples of Jesus Christ!

In Summary

The challenges faced by parishes and Catholic schools are real and complex, but developing a “growth mindset” by exercising key attributes in your unique role will help you take on challenges and turn them into opportunities! You can build a more vibrant and effective faith community by helping staff and students develop a “growth mindset.”