How to help your child develop a champion mindset for great learning

Information was considered equal to knowledge before. However, with the advent of the world-wide web and internet, any information is easily available at the click of a mouse. But having this information does not mean we have knowledge.

  • Getting raw data is information
  • Active understanding of information is knowledge
  • Applying the knowledge gained in other domains is wisdom
  • Ability to frame the right questions once we have wisdom is foresight

The goals for us as parents and educators are:

  • To help children find their inner strengths
  • To help them use their inner strengths
  • To help them overcome obstacles in expressing their inner strengths
  • To help them be the best they can be and use their inner strengths to develop themselves and the society

For this both intellect and imagination, right brain and left brain are necessary. We have to strengthen their strengths as well as their non-strengths.

The brain has three tiers:

  1. Reflex brain: brain stem and cerebellum
  2. Emotional brain: limbic system
  3. Intellectual brain: cerebral cortex

Fear and insecurity are two big impediments to learning. We have to give children a fearless and secure environment for learning. The right brain is called the creative brain and the left brain is called the logical brain. They do not function in isolation. A new activity is initially carried out by the right brain but as time goes and the activity becomes familiar, the left brain takes over that activity, freeing the right brain for another new activity. There is also neuroplasticity- the ability of a part of the brain to do the functions of another part.

There is proliferation of neurons and synaptic connections till the age of 12 , after which there is pruning of those that are not needed. This does not mean that all learning happens before the age of 12. What it means is the growth corresponds to the potential for learning. So we have to expose children to various activities and that help in the development of both the right and the left brain. Otherwise, there is the possibility that some connections will not grow and the potential as we grow older will be less.

The mind set of a child and each one of us depends on the experiences we have and the meaning we give to those experiences.

The Champion mindset does this:

  1. It is a mental attitude that has learned to replace the fear filter with a more wide-angled perspective that allows for an analysis of alternative interpretations- including the more positive ones.
  2. It consciously regards the new challenge not as a cause of stress but as a new opportunity – a chance to move beyond our present experiences and expand our horizons, to learn and grow and be more than we were.
  3. It uses positive extrapolation: visualising the most successful outcome even in a very challenging situation and standing in that successful future and looking back with the eyes of a future expert asking: What did I do that led to this successful outcome? What did I do that did not work. This involves brainstorming possible strategies and steps, including seeking help from other people.
  4. It uses the human power of metacognition to develop a number of mindsets by consciously shifting domains.

To help a child learn we need to:

  • Use associations with what is already known.
  • Use simple methods with which the child can understand
  • Help him apply it so that he can master it.

Many children do not learn with any level of connection or active understanding because of faulty method of instruction and not tieing the learner to the learning in a meaningful way.

The development of a champion mindset is a shift to the world view dominated by positive psychology’s six virtue clusters:

The wisdom/knowlege cluster

  • Curiosity/interest in the world
  • Love of learning
  • Judgement/critical thinking/ open-mindedness
  • Ingenuity/originality/practical intelligence/ street smarts
  • Social intelligence/personal intelligence/emotional intelligence
  • Perspective

The courage cluster

  • Valour and bravery
  • Perseverance/industry/diligence
  • Integrity/genuineness/honesty

The humanity/love cluster

  • Kindness and generosity
  • Loving and allowing oneself to be loved

The justice cluster

  • Citizenship/duty/teamwork/loyalty
  • Fairness and equity
  • Leadership

The temperance/moderation cluster

  • Self-control
  • Prudence/discretion/caution
  • Humility and modesty

The transcendence cluster

  • Appreciation of beauty and excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Hope/optimism/future-mindedness
  • Spirituality/sense of purpose/faith/religiousness
  • Forgiveness and mercy
  • Playfulness and humour
  • Zest/passion/enthusiasm

To achieve a permanent change of state, we must first permanently change the person we are inside-our mindset.

To achieve the champion mindset we need to ask productive questions like-

  • What are the three things I can do today to improve?
  • Who can help me improve?
  • How can we fix and improve our methods, so that it never happens again?

The steps to unlocking your child’s genius are:

  • Give your child a detailed picture of the goals that he needs to achieve
  • Help him feel, picture and visualise the solution to the goal
  • Tie the outcome to your key values and beliefs
  • Have a perfect belief in the system
  • Have a deadline
  • Believe in yourself