What's a Growth Mindset?
By Lisa Robles
So first, let's start with some background. It's an idea founded by Dr. Carol Dweck from Stanford University. A fixed mindset is the idea that things are the way they are. You're born good at something or not. There's no room for growth. A growth mindset is the idea that you can develop ability through hard work and effort. You can become good at anything, if you work hard enough. If a student has a growth mindset, they build confidence, perseverance and ultimately success.
So I've been doing some work with my kids on changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. I thought I'd share some of the things I've done.
So in my class I started with quotes. I found a lot on Practical Savvy. I put up quotes like:
- Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did. Mark Twain
- It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. Confucius
- It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Walt Disney
- It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
I gave each group of four kids one quote and had them discuss it. Then they separated and formed new groups. They shared their quotes, their groups thinking and what it has in common with the other quotes.
After that, I explained the difference between an fixed and a growth mindset. I then gave them an activity where they took fixed mindset thinking and turned them into growth mindset. You can find that activity here.
I then put up posters showing how to change fixed mindset thinking into growth mindset. I made them with nice frames.
Another activity is to have them research successful people who had to overcome obstacles to get where they were. People like Walt Disney, Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs. You can find that activity here on TeachersPayTeachers.
As a teacher, I want to be sure I'm framing my feedback using growth mindset. A team of us at school are creating a checklist we could use to record ourselves in how effective we are at using feedback to challenge, praise and encourage. We'll be working on that for the next few months.
So that's where we are right now. Funny, the other day, a student said," Miss, E--- has a fixed mindset! He said he can't do it and he hasn't even tried!" So I asked, "What would be a better way to say it?" She said, "He could have said, I'm worried I won't do well but I'll try my best." Something is sticking!!
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