Updated: Jul 17, 2020
All students face challenges and setbacks throughout their education and outside of school, it’s important to equip them with the skills to overcome and learn from these challenges.
Social psychologist and professor at Stanford University, Dr. Carol Dweck, explored the nature of intelligence. She found there are two key views: fixed mindset and growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset consider that intelligence is fixed and can’t be changed:
"You either have it or you don’t“
“It can be accurately judged by others”
“It can’t be improved or increased much”
People with fixed mindsets are more likely to give up easily and avoid challenges. As result they often quit early and achieve less than their full potential.
People with a growth mindset believe that their talents and skills can be developed through hard work, strategies and input from others. That’s why they embrace challenges, see effort and hard work as a way to achievement and learn from criticism.
“Making mistakes is part of learning“ - Dweck
“The harder you work at something, the better you will be at it.” - Dweck
How can you encourage your students to have a Growth Mindset?
Dweck warns against praising a child’s natural ability or intelligence as this can lead to fixed mindset, giving up quicker and a reduction of enjoyment from learning.
To support a growth mindset, ‘failures’ should be attributed to low effort or an ineffective strategy:
And ‘successes’ should be attributed to effort and competence in terms of effective strategies:
It’s important to teach students that their brain can be changed, and to value learning over performance.
Growth mindset does not mean everyone has equal ability and anyone can do anything. It means that you believe that no matter where a person is now they can always improve with effort, good strategies and help.
Why is a Growth Mindset important?
Recognition of a growth mindset helps people to persist setbacks, learn from criticism, see inspiration in the success of others and foster a positive attitude towards practice and learning.
Other positive outcomes are better self-regulation, stress reduction and increased wellbeing and emotional functioning. As a result, students can gain ever-higher levels of achievement, helping them to reach their full potential.
Here's a great motivational video to share with your students about the importance of a growth mindset!