Bonduel students learn how to make mistakes

By  | 

BONDUEL, Wis. (WBAY) - We often hear about behavioral problems in schools but not as often about solutions that work.

(WBAY photo)

A Shawano County school district is finding success with a little kindness and positive reinforcement.

"Instead of saying, 'I'm never going to understand this,' that's a fixed mindset; what could you say instead?" the teacher asks the class.

"'I can keep trying,'" a boy named Liam says.

"'I will understand this,'" a girl named Erica offered.

Students at Bonduel Elementary School know all about fixed mindsets, telling yourself you can't do it.

They're also learning the growth mindset, telling yourself you'll get there if you stay with it, seek other solutions and don't give up.

It's taught in the classroom on a daily -- sometimes hourly -- basis.

"Yeah, it really helps to like persevere, because no one in our class would ask questions before this and now everyone's like fine with asking questions because it helps them out a lot and they persevere a lot when they get something wrong," student Maria Wondra told us.

"I used to actually struggle with anger issues, so I've actually become much more of a better student because of this mindset," student Ryan Westrich shared.

These lessons on persevering and compassion are based on the popular books"The Unselfie" and "The Growth Mindset."

Bonduel students start hearing about it in 4K and it's reinforced in every grade level.

"I see that students now see that making a mistake is OK, that they do learn from it and that they're more readily willing to take that challenge," teacher Traci Steinbach said.

"what we see is that they come into our classrooms and they're real excited to be there. and when they leave school they can't wait to come back," Principal Brad Grayvold said.

You see many hands enthusiastically going up to answer the teacher's questions and students who say they're much more willing to help a classmate struggling with a lesson.

The classrooms and hallways are filled with positive messages, including the Monday Mindset message students find in their lockers to start the week.

"It costs time -- and time is something that we have. Time is on our side because the more we invest now, the less anybody is going to have to invest down the road," Grayvold said.