New Mindset – Part 2: Changing Classroom Phrases

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
– Thomas Edison

A mindset shift has its roots in the words we speak and the phrases we believe. The foundation of any growth-minded classroom should be comprised in a paradigm shift made evident in the conversations heard in our classroom.

When visitors walk into your classroom, what do they hear?

Do they hear your students saying, “Ugh! I’m never going to get this!” or “That was really tricky! Next time, I’m going to try this strategy,”? Do they hear, “I wish I could write like you,” or “How did you get so great at writing?”

Our shift in mentality needs to be evident in what we say.

Encourage your students to take hold of a growth mindset by posting alternatives to phrases that would lead to fixed mindset thinking, or thinking that our abilities cannot be changed much. Instead of thinking, “I’ll never be as good at math as her,” students should be thinking, “I’m going to figure out what she’s doing and I’m going to try it.” One of my favorite shifts to work towards is seeing my students who finish early analyzing their work. Their thinking transforms from “My work is good enough,” to “Is this really my best work?”

Take a minute or two each day to highlight the “growthier” phrases and discuss why this thinking is more conducive to success inside and outside of the classroom.


My students refer to our mindset wall daily to restructure how they speak to themselves and to each other.

Need a visual? Watch how this teacher created a growth-minded classroom by encouraging her students to persist through challenges with the focus on positive classroom phrases.

Missed New Year, New Mindset – Part 1? Click HERE to catch up.

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3 thoughts on “New Mindset – Part 2: Changing Classroom Phrases

  1. Katy Cortelyou says:

    One of my favorite quotes is from Peggy O’Mara: “The way we talk to children becomes their inner voice.” Thank you for sharing examples as to how you nurture a growth mindset within your students.

    Liked by 1 person

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