Growth Mindset Revisited

Carol Dweck, a well-regarded educator from Stanford University, wrote a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. According to Dweck there are two mindsets: Fixed and Growth. People with a fixed mindset believe that major qualities like intelligence are fixed and they will not change. People with a growth mindset believe that abilities even intelligence can change with dedication and hard work. Her work with promoting a growth mindset in children has helped children “grow their minds” develop the skills they need for maximum success.

Recently, Dweck published further research on growth mindset based on what she was noticing about the popularity of the growth mindset approach. Among her findings were the following:

  1.  It is not enough to just praise effort.  A statement such as “great effort” is simply not enough.  A growth mindset not only focuses on effort but on the challenges of the learning process.  A statement such a “great effort, let’s look at what you tried and what you can do next” is going to lead to better results in the short and long term.
  2. The term “fixed mindset” is sometimes used as an explanation for a problem rather than the first step to finding a solution.
  3. Having a growth mindset is not just something someone says it is something someone does.  Many people claim they have growth mindsets but their actions and words do not reflect a growth mindset. In order to have a growth mindset words and actions have to promote effort and learning.
  4. Most people are a mixture of a growth and fixed mindset and we need to acknowledge that the fixed mindset is always within us.
  5. A growth mindset is a constant journey not a destination.

I appreciate Carol Dweck’s review of her own work work and I think that her new findings further help us prepare our students for the future.

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