We have introduced Growth Mindsets within the classroom. It has been a whole school approach for both children and adults to think and live with a growth mindset.
As educators we need to question our practice:
- What are we delivering?
- What is the learning?
- What is the impact of my teaching?
- How do my children learn?
- Are my children reaching their potential?
As learners, whether as children or adults, through all aspects of life we need to question:
- What can I achieve?
- How can I achieve it?
- Am I reaching my potential?
- Can I challenge myself?
The concept of a growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck.
A mindset, according to Dweck, is a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves. Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is a simple example of a mindset. People may also have a mindset related their personal or professional lives—“I’m a good teacher” or “I’m a bad parent,” for example. People can be aware or unaware of their mindsets, according to Dweck, but they can have profound effect on learning achievement, skill acquisition, personal relationships, professional success, and many other dimensions of life.
Dweck’s educational work centers on the distinction between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. According to Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.” Dweck’s research suggests that students who have adopted a fixed mindset—the belief that they are either “smart” or “dumb” and there is no way to change this, for example—may learn less than they could or learn at a slower rate, while also shying away from challenges (since poor performance might either confirm they can’t learn, if they believe they are “dumb,” or indicate that they are less intelligent than they think, if they believe they are “smart”). Dweck’s findings also suggest that when students with fixed mindsets fail at something, as they inevitably will, they tend to tell themselves they can’t or won’t be able to do it (“I just can’t learn Algebra”), or they make excuses to rationalize the failure (“I would have passed the test if I had had more time to study”).
Alternatively, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,” writes Dweck. Students who embrace growth mindsets—the belief that they can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere—may learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills.
Growth and Fixed Mindsets – we are either/or BUT we can change our mindset.
|Talents and abilities are fixed||Talents and abilities are grown|
|I am natural at some things and hopeless at others||I can develop talents with learning , effort and coaching|
|Keen to prove||Keen to improve|
|Choose to stay in my comfort zone||Choose to go out of my comfort zone|
|Everyone has their limits, so lets identify our strengths||Everyone has the capacity to improve so lets challenge ourselves|
|Feedback emphasises my weaknesses and mistakes||Feedback shows me how to improve and grow|
|Struggling with something means I can’t do it.||Struggling with something means I am learning|
- Research shows that growth mindset teachers create better learning environments .
- They are more open to feedback from students (because they are interested in learning)
- They are better mentors (because they believe in development)
- They are perceived by their students as more fair (because they believe everyone has the capacity to improve).
Carol Dweck, 2014
What are we seeing in the classroom?
- Every class has a mindset display
- Whole school mindset display
- Language encouraged throughout
- Setting targets
- Weekly reviews of how mindsets are growing