Growth Mindset

Resilience is a key element of our school ethos.  One of the greatest impediments to resilience is the attitude of mind described by psychologist Carol Dweck as a “fixed mindset“.  This attitude is reflected in statements such as:

  • intelligence is a fixed thing
  • you are born with a certain amount of intelligence and you can’t change it
  • some people are talented and some aren’t – that’s just how life is
These beliefs are common among pupils, parents and teachers.  But they have been proven to be wrong, and furthermore they have been proven to be detrimental to an individual’s learning.
A healthier attitude, described by Carol Dweck as a “growth mindset” sounds like this:

 

  • I can change how intelligent I am
  • everyone can increase the amount of intelligence they have
  • talent is developed through persistent effort

This attitude turns out to be more accurate, according to recent research.  Clearly we would rather have pupils with the growth mindset in our classes.  Carol Dweck recommends one strategy above all others if we seek to nurture growth mindsets in our students:

Always praise effort and the use of effective strategies, rather than achievement or intelligence.

Carol Dweck summarises her findings here.