Unlocking Potential (Part 2): The Importance of Consistent Structures for Twice-Exceptional Students
Last week, I explored some of the reasons why stability and predictability are paramount for our 2e (twice-exceptional) students as they navigate the complex intersection of their exceptional abilities and learning challenges. This consistency establishes a baseline for students that allows them to better leverage their strenths and to lean into areas of challenge. This week, I want to examine how these structures support the development of a growth-focused school culture.
Fostering a Growth Mindset
Consistent structures can also play a significant role in nurturing a growth mindset in twice-exceptional students. Carol Dweck's research on mindset highlights the importance of believing that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and persistence. For 2e students, who often face hurdles in their learning journey, instilling this mindset is invaluable.
When these students experience a stable learning environment with clear expectations and support systems, they are more likely to develop the belief that they can improve and grow. They see that their challenges do not define them, and their abilities can be honed through consistent effort and guidance.
Consistent structures can contribute to this mindset shift by:
Providing a Sense of Control: By knowing what to expect and how to navigate their environment, 2e students gain a sense of control over their learning, which can boost their confidence and motivation. Students at Lang are empowered to make choices that will meet their needs within a set of agreed upon parameters. The ability to advocate for their needs instills self-confidence and autonomy that will support their achievements beyond Lang.
Encouraging Perseverance: When they encounter challenges, consistent structures can help 2e students persevere because they understand that setbacks are part of the learning process. This resilience is a key aspect of a growth mindset. Students at Lang are encouraged to problem solve and seek support from trusted adults who can help them navigate challenging situations. It is important that they know we are here to help them problem-solve and develop the Executive Functioning skills to support long-term success.
Setting Clear Goals: Consistency allows for the setting of clear, achievable goals. These goals, when met, reinforce the idea that improvement is possible with effort. Students at Lang are able to monitor their progress through our Veracross system and sit with advisors each week for one-on-one conferencing about their progress toward goals. We help establish the reflective practice as well as the benchmark chick-ins needed to monitor progress over time.
Consistency provides a safe and predictable environment that reduces anxiety, supports executive function, and emphasizes their strengths. It fosters a growth mindset by instilling a belief in their ability to improve through effort. Furthermore, it addresses their emotional well-being by building a supportive community, providing access to resources, and celebrating their achievements. Next week, we will explore the impact of consistent structures on the cultivation of positive well-being for our students.