The Growth Mindset

Helping Our Learners Believe "They Can"

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Introduction to the Fixed Vs. Growth Mindset

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Growth Mindset Animation

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The Fixed Mindset

The Fixed Mindset is something you're trained in from an early age. People with a fixed mindset believe that they were only given a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, certain characteristics, and that they'll be stuck in those given ways forever. They see no room for improvement and have the urgency to always have to prove their worth. People with fixed mindsets are often times more concerned with proving themselves to be smart than actually being so. People with fixed mindsets are insecure and believe that they'll never overcome failure. (Dweck 6).
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The Growth Mindset

The growth mindset is the theory that through effort and practice you can achieve anything. The growth mindset believes that no one is "stuck in their ways" and everyone can grow and change. People with the growth mindset believe that ones potential is unknown, anyone can end up doing and being anything. With passion, proper training, application and experience anyone can achieve their goals. Unlike the fixed mindset, people with the growth mindset, spend more time trying to succeed than they do trying to prove they're succeeding. People with the growth mindset enjoy challenges and believe that they will defeat them. (Dweck 7).
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How we as Educators can Help our Learners

  • Remind children that it's about practicing and learning, not who's smarter and dumber.
  • Instead of trying to talk the child out of the fixed mindset, inspire them by living the growth mindset with them.
  • Discuss over dinner, or any free time, what the child learned that day, what they found challenging, and how they think they should or would fix it. Talking with a child about education shows them you care and how important learning new things is.
  • Ask your child what he or she learned today that they didn't know the day or week before. They'll notice the improvement they've made and be encouraged to learn more.
  • Help the child set a goal and a plan to work on everyday to achieve it.
  • Help the child find their work or homework to be fun and challenging rather than easy and boring.
  • Keep in mind that the child can easily get overwhelmed when pushed to learn new things, too much effort can be just as bad as too much effort.
  • Help the child find joy in what they are to be doing. For example, instead of making piano lessons mandatory, tell the child that he or she may practice piano as much or as little as they like and that piano lessons or for enjoyment and not forced learning.
  • Once the child realizes that not everything is forced learning and can be fun and challenging, they'll see homework this way as well.
  • Remind children that mistakes don't mean failure and you need to make mistakes before you learn something.
  • Mistakes are a huge part of the learning process and the most crucial part is helping the child recognize the mistake, then figuring out an effective way to prevent it from happening the next time.
  • Most importantly, when there are setbacks, remind the child that "It's a learning process, not a battle between the bad you and the good you".
  • (Dweck 221-235).
Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve


  • Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.
  • "How to Critique and Be Critiqued." Katherine Lynas. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
  • "Carol Dweck: The Power of Believing That You Can Improve." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
  • "Growth Mindset Animation." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.
  • "Mindset." Mind Body Cheer. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.