Generation Alpha are being shaped in an education system that encourages them to set their own goals and resources them to learn and explore beyond the classroom. They are given time for personal reflection, and there is a strong focus on the development of multiple intelligences beyond just the numeracy and literacy of old.
We’ve found in our research with educators and parents that Generation Alpha are both agile and adept. When faced with a challenge, educators believe Generation Alpha are significantly more likely to persist than to give up, when compared to Gen Z. Educators think Generation Alpha are more likely to ask for help while Gen Z are more likely to struggle in silence. When they experience failure, educators think Gen Z are more likely to see it as a personal deficiency while Gen Alpha are more likely to see it as an opportunity to learn.
As Generation Alpha grow up it will be interesting to see how this mindset shapes their experience and approach to life. If they can continue to have a growth mindset (where they believe their abilities can be improved through hard work, which leads to growth, success, a love of learning and greater resilience) it will help to thrive in the future. So, how can we help to develop and encourage a growth mindset in this next generation?
Helping Generation Alpha to focus on personal growth
1. Place value on the effort being made. Praising children’s effort and how they approach a challenge is more helpful than their intelligence, ability or how well they did. By praising their effort, it encourages more of it in different situations and gives them agency to work hard.
2. Utilise the power of ‘yet’. It’s amazing how such a small word – ‘yet’ – can have a big impact in shifting a child’s worldview and approach to difficulty. Instead of a child saying, ‘I can’t read’, it’s much more empowering for them to say, ‘I can’t read, yet’.
3. Avoid labelling children. Whether the label is positive or negative, labelling children can stop them from working at something. The human brain is continually learning and adapting – not just in our formative years but throughout our lives.
4. Reframe failure as a normal part of the process. An important part of building resilience is to not let failure stop Generation Alpha from working to improve. Rather, encourage them to think about what they could do differently next time.
5. Focus on your own personal growth and share examples. By modelling an attitude of growth and an ability to learn, we can all help to set a positive example for Generation Alpha.