Have you talked yourself out of trying something new because you thought you’d be bad at it? If you fail at something, does that mean you are “stupid”?
For many girls, the possibility of not excelling at something is a scary proposition. According to bestselling author, educator and coach Rachel Simmons, girls’ drive to get great grades, have lots of friends and participate in many co-curricular activities is often plagued by perfectionism. “Mistakes and failure feel overwhelming to a lot of girls, a sign they’ve let someone down,” says Rachel. “Meanwhile, as they approach adolescence, girls’ confidence often plummets…most girls continue to maintain excellence ‘on paper’. They work hard and try harder. Inside, however, they suffer. The belief that success equals perfection leads to intense stress and internalized pressure. Research tells us these feelings are showing up in younger and younger girls.”
SCS surveyed students in Grades 4-6 to uncover their feelings on success and failure. Nearly 50% of Grade 4 girls named getting good grades or school work as their biggest worry; by Grade 5, this number climbed to 62%. Notably, by Grade 6 worry over appearance had pulled almost even with academics.
The survey results have helped to inform a program developed by the LINCWell team, targeted at the needs of students in Grades 5 and 6. This curriculum-based program teaches positive self-talk to students, to see if it reduces the worries and anxieties that can lead to perfectionism and instead promote a “growth mindset” – the belief that effort can increase intelligence and that mistakes bring us closer to success. SCS is working closely with psychologist Dr. Karen Milligan, Assistant Professor at Ryerson University, on this innovative program.
The Grade 5 and 6 classroom teachers, together with the LINCWell team, implemented the new LINCWell curriculum beginning in September 2014. Students are supported throughout the year with strategies to frame their thinking, manage their worries, solve problems, and enhance the type of positive mindset that research demonstrates can support academic growth and success.
This program is another exciting, innovative way that SCS develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate.