Growth Mindset

Are You Ready to Grow?

Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference.

Mindsets are beliefs—beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities.

Yesterday's Theory

•We are born with intelligence…

•There is a fixed intelligence that can be measured using an IQ test Dweck, 2010)

•No matter how much you learn or how hard you work your intelligence stays the same!

Today's Theory

•The distinguishing feature of geniuses is their passion and dedication to their craft, and particularly, the way in which they identify, confront, and take pains to remedy their weaknesses (Good, Rattan, & Dweck, 2008).

•In other words…Mindset Matters!

The brain is like a muscle that gets stronger and works better the more it is exercised.

•Too often students believe the brain is static, leading them to think talent and giftedness are permanent, unchanging personal attributes that automatically bring later success.

•Every time you work hard, stretch yourself and learn something new your brain forms new connections and over time you actually become smarter.

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The Growth Mindset

Fixed Mindset

●In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits.

●They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.

●They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.

●They worry about their traits and how adequate they are.

●They have something to prove to themselves and others.

Growth Mindset

●In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.

●This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

●They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things—not Mozart, Darwin, or Michael Jordan—without years of passionate practice and learning.


In a fixed mindset, you believe “She’s a natural born singer” or “I’m just no good at dancing.”

In a growth mindset, you believe “Anyone can be good at anything. Skill comes only from practice.”

In a fixed mindset, failures define you.

In a growth mindset, failures are temporary setbacks.

In a fixed mindset, it’s all about the outcome. If you fail, you think all effort was wasted.

In a growth mindset, it’s all about the process, so the outcome hardly matters.

The fixed mindset believes trouble is devastating. If you believe, “You’re either naturally great or will never be great,” then when you have any trouble, your mind thinks, “See? You’ll never be great at this. Give up now.”

The growth mindset believes trouble is just important feedback in the learning process.

Can you see how this subtle difference in mindset can change everything?

What does it all Mean?

Dr. Dwecks research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you commit to and accomplish the things you value.

How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?

What does it mean for my students?

What does it mean for my classroom?

ASCD: Even Geniuses Work Hard

Let's give students learning tasks that tell them, "You can be as smart as you want to be."

Carol Dweck: The Effect of Praise on Mindsets
Carol Dweck - A Study on Praise and Mindsets
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Sesame Street: Janelle Monae - Power of Yet

In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.