Developing student leaders using growth mindset principles

Current psychological research supports the concept of instilling a growth mindset to improve academic achievement and self-esteem as well as other pursuits such as athletic or artistic achievement. A person with a growth mindset believes that personal traits such as intelligence may be developed with effort. Research on leaders with a growth mindset indicates that they are more effective. Further, organizations that adopt a growth mindset are more likely to develop leaders as well as foster creativity, cooperation, and pursuit towards goals. Participation in student leadership has a positive impact on students at individual, school-wide, and community. It also may be used to foster more healthy lifestyles in students. There are few curriculums available to elementary school teachers seeking to develop student leaders. There are no curriculums that incorporate the powerful concept of growth mindset. This project attempts to fill this gap by creating a set of lessons and resources targeted at fifth grade teachers to teach leadership skills using growth mindset principles. Results of a formative evaluation indicate that fourth and fifth grade teachers feel the lessons are age-appropriate and engaging for their grade level. The depth of content, connection to Common Core Language Arts Standards, age-appropriateness and engagement level of the leadership projects appear to be moderately appropriate; however, future improvements may be made in these areas. These results indicate that this is a promising first step in creating a growth mindset leadership curriculum for upper elementary teachers.