Giving girls a space to try, fail, try again – and succeed

There’s a lot of judgment in today’s world but Guiding is a different kind of place for girls. In an accepting and judgement-free zone like Girl Guides, girls can seek challenges, try new things even if they might fail, learn from their set-backs and feel confident to dust themselves off and try again. Through this kind of growth mindset, girls learn that they really can do anything they set their minds to. Talk about a skill that will translate into the rest of their life.

Following up on last month’s exploration of safe space, in February we’re looking at the second pillar of girl-driven Guiding –  growth mindset. When girls have a growth mindset, they believe their abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. They embrace challenges and are totally up for learning new things. Talent is just a starting point for these girls – they know it’s their effort and focus that leads to success in the end. True Guiding values!

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, girls can learn to judge themselves and some may become ultra-sensitive to the judgment of others. This leads to a fixed mindset. Girls with a fixed mindset believe they are what they are – good or bad, winning or failing, cool or uncool.

In a fixed mindset, girls believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are fixed and cannot change. They spend their time demonstrating and proving their abilities instead of developing them. These girls avoid challenges and dream small, so their weaknesses aren’t exposed. Out of a fear of failure, they become afraid of taking chances and stretching their boundaries.

Yet, we were all born to learn. When we first tried to climb a tree, we probably didn’t make it to the top. We might have been scared of falling. We may have even suffered a few scrapes and bruises. But with effort and practice, our muscles got stronger, our approach got smarter, and we figured out how to move to the higher branches.

Guiders promote growth mindset by helping girls step out of their comfort zone, explore new skills and focus on process versus achievement. In girl-driven Guiding, positive feedback focuses on each girl’s effort, choices and strategies rather than her abilities and talents. Instead of praising girls for their personal attributes (like how good at math or singing they are), Guiders praise their passion, grit, determination and hard work. Because Guiding is a safe space, Guiders can also offer constructive feedback to help girls grow and improve in ways that matter to them.

Growth mindset supports girls as they navigate their world and grab hold of every opportunity that comes their way. As catalysts for girls empowering girls, Guiders who model a growth mindset help girls learn to sustain their own confidence throughout life.

Guider storytelling contest – enter to win!

This year, we’re celebrating the critical role Guiders play in girls’ lives! From January to May, we’re inviting Guiders to share their stories of girl-driven Guiding.

In February, we’d love to hear your stories of the second girl-driven pillar: growth mindset. How did you support growth mindset in your unit? How have girls thrived? What have you learned?

Contest details:

  • Send your stories of growth mindset in Guiding to delivery@girlguides.ca by February 25 for a chance to win a Guider self-care package
  • Please include your name, mailing address, iMIS#, Provincial Council and the branch level of your unit
  • Images encouraged (please ensure we have permission to share!)
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