People with growth mindsets believe that our intelligence increases as we learn, Carol Dweck said last month when she spoke at the San Francisco-based research organization WestEd’s annual forum. Challenges are welcomed as opportunities to work hard and figure things out. There is a lack of self-consciousness about making mistakes.
In contrast, a “fixed mindset” is the belief that we are born with a certain amount of intelligence and talent and “that’s it,” Dweck said. A fixed mindset is a mental trap, Dweck said, that can cause talented people to avoid challenges for fear of losing their identity as “smart.”
The fixed mindset approach is to “look smart at all costs,” she said. “Even more – never look dumb.” This is the mindset that saps students’ motivation, she said.
We read Dweck's book, Mindset, as well as used her online program, Brainology, with students. These have helped us praise effort over outcome. As a result, children start to see mistakes in a different way, evidenced by their willingness to take on harder academic tasks.
It is exciting to read in the article that seven districts in California are adding to their accountability systems, among other factors, a growth mindset, and collecting data over the next two years.
In one particular classroom where the growth mindset is already being used, the following was reported:
“L., who never puts in any extra effort and doesn’t turn in homework on time, actually stayed up late working for hours to finish an assignment early so I could review it and give him a chance to revise it,” wrote a math teacher who participated in the study. “He earned a B on the assignment (he had been getting C’s and lower.)”
As a company, we work to include social emotional skills and growth mindset attitude to all we do, and are very excited to share this information with you.