A growth mindset is a way of thinking we strive to gift all of our learners with in education. When we live with a growth mindset, we see possibilities instead of limitations. Our failures become valuable experiences for learning. Success enjoyed by others inspires rather than discourages us. Most of all, we see our efforts as a meaningful journey rather than a fruitless waste. This is the kind of philosophy that will prepare our learners to succeed beyond school.
Carol Dweck has written much about the power of fostering our own growth mindset. She sums it up this way in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:
“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”
What does this mean for our classrooms? Speaking from an educational standpoint, she continues by comparing the advantages in store for the modern learner that come with adopting a growth mindset over a fixed one:
“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
A Growth Mindset is Our Choice
In our society we spend much of our energy labelling the causes of the limiting or fixed mindsets that keep us from our goals. We use statements like the ones below to validate the persistence of our predicaments:
- “I’ve always thought that way, so I can’t change now.”
- “I’m not good enough to ________.”
- “This is the way I was raised, so it must be true.”
- “Why bother? It’ll never happen anyway.”
- “It’s too much work.”
- “I’m too old/fat/poor/stupid.”
Many of these sound way too familiar. But why continue to argue for our limitations? It’s long been confirmed that our intelligence is not fixed as we once believed it to be. We know the brain reworks itself and evolves through nueroplasticity. The hard science is there, so what about the inner magic?
Adopting a shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is our choice, and it’s the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and certainly to our young children. Here’s a little infographic to help you on your journey.
This infographic will hopefully give both you and your learners a daily reminder of how adopting the growth mindset can change everything, both in the classroom and in life. Fix your fixed mindsets and get to growing!