Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

January 25, 2016

Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets

I first came across the concept of fixed mindset back in 2002 when reading Malcolm Gladwell’s article, “The Talent Myth.” He used the Enron scandal to illustrate how smart people (that is, people praised for being smart) perpetuated a scandal. His argument was based in the mindset theories of Carol Dweck. What made sense to me as a teacher was how praising students for being smart often led them to take fewer risks and rest on their laurels as opposed to students praised for working hard or persevering. Those students often kept taking risks, kept working hard, and often showed the biggest improvements. Likewise, athletes praised for natural ability tended to disregard feedback and work less whereas athletes praised for their work ethic listen to feedback and worked harder.


Fixed and growth mindsets have become part of our national conversations in education, business, and sports. So I thought I would gather all the resources I had found.


· Start here with Carol Dweck’s short 3-minute video on praise.

· This is a lengthier RSA Animate video explaining Carol Dweck’s teachings. Very appropriate and engaging for students

· “What Having a ‘Growth Mindset’ Actually Means” from Carol Dweck’s article published earlier this month in the Harvard Business Review

· “Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindsets” by Carol Dweck explores how growth mindsets are misunderstood and misused

· Last fall, Dweck published an article “Revisiting the Growth Mindset”

· This is a superb blog post from Shane Parrish (Farnam Street) summarizing Carol Dweck’s teachings which also includes another video from Dweck herself.

· This is another superb blog post from Maria Popova of the Brain Pickings blog which summarizes Dweck’s work

· A teacher blogs about lessons he learned from growth mindset in a very comprehensive blog post

· “Common Misconceptions About Growth Mindsets” is a great article about the misuses of growth mindsets

· Vicki Davis shares 10 Growth Mindset Statements and another video

· An “Effective Effort Rubric” shows how fixed, mixed, and growth mindsets are displayed

· Larry Ferlazzo has a web page devoted to Growth Mindset

· “Positive Mindset May Prime Students’ Brains for Math” explores some of the biological evidence for the existence of growth mindset

· Jackie Gerstein hosted a staff workshop on growth mindsets and shared her slideshow here

· “New Research: Students Benefit from Learning that Intelligence is Not Fixed” by Ingfei Chen spells out the direct implication for education

· “How to Normalize Mistake Making and Struggle in Class” has practical suggestions for teachers

· “How to Weave Growth Mindset Into School Culture” is a great article explore the wide-ranging effects growth mindset can have on a school

· “Why a ‘Growth Mindset’ Won’t Work” explores how emphasizing growth mindset among students alone won’t have much of an effect

· “Never Too Late: Creating a Climate for Adults to Learn New Skills” addresses the issue of how to move our adults (teachers, staff, parents) toward a growth mindset

· “The Logic Behind the ‘Illogical’ Mindset of Students and Families in Poverty” by Angela Watson

· “The Intersection of Growth Mindsets and Maker Education” explains the growth of maker education

· “How to Help Students Develop the Growth Mindset with #20 Time” is based on the Google strategy of allowing employees to devote some of their time on their own interests

· “Growth Mindset Toolkit for Parents” is a great resource

Make sure to read her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” which is just one of the three books highlighted in this article.


Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

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Central Catholic Gift

After learning that a Butte Central Catholic HS student had committed suicide, the Great Falls Central Catholic HS community sent this card which is now hanging in the central atrium of Butte Central. Wow.

The Week Ahead

Monday: Helena meetings

Tuesday: Virtual Principal meetings 9 am and 1 pm

Wednesday: Great Falls meetings

Thursday: Montana Federation of Independent Schools meeting

Friday: office (Helena)


This week: 270 miles

Last week: 430 miles

2015-16: 14,928 driving miles; 7,844 air miles

Montana Catholic Schools

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For Principals

  1. I still need a few volunteers for our WCEA visiting teams next school year.
  2. There are two virtual principal meetings scheduled for Tuesday. Each one will begin with discussion of the elementary religion standards and then will include discussion of catechetical certification of religion teachers and faith formation opportunities for all teachers.
  3. The 9 am signin information: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/870403813
  4. The 1 pm signin information: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/922480613

American Catholic News

Catholic Schools Week News

  1. 12 reasons why parents choose a Catholic school
  2. The NCEA has constructed a "Tweetwall" to include tweets from all across the country related to Catholic Schools Week
  3. Use and follow the hashtag #CSW16

Gender Identity

  1. Gender Identity Concerns have explored in Canada. Here's one article explaining the controversy.
  2. John Allen of Crux offers a recipe for calming the crisis.

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How statistics can be misleading - Mark Liddell