"Fighting the Fixed Approach"

A Growth Mindset in the Making- Zach Sherburn

The Mindsets

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, two mindsets exist in students that dictate their ability to learn and determine whether or not they live up to their full potential.

The first undesirable perspective is knows as the fixed mindset. It stems from the belief that intelligence is a fixed quantity that someone can not significantly alter. This mindset is dangerous because it often, "limits achievement. It fill's people's minds with interfering thoughts, it makes effort disagreeable, and it leads to inferior learning strategies" (Dweck, 67). Students in this realm of thinking contribute success to luck or skill.

For example, the fixed mindset inflicts major destruction to the health of a relationship. For many, rejection requires an opposite reaction--revenge. When a significant other, "gives them no recipe for healing their wound", these individuals, "hope to wound the person who inflicted it." (145). Such negative responses directly correlate with the inferior learning strategies that occur in the classroom.

On the contrary, we as a school wish to promote the growth mindset. Students with this mindset view intelligence as a flexible concept that may be stretched and challenged. These children embrace learning and even, "plunge into something because [they're] not good at it" (53) . Children in this realm of thinking contribute success to a combination of ability, effort and determination.

Some of the hardest-working professionals exist in their current state because they used the growth mindset to push them there. For instance, Wilma Rudolph never let physical disabilities hinder her success because she continued to grow day by day. She even states herself how, "'There is something about seeing myself improve that motivates and excites me'" (88). This is the kind of drive we are looking to create in our student body.

Throughout this seminar, we as a staff will explore these mindsets and discuss how to promote them in a classroom setting. Any student can improve their intelligence: all it takes is a new mindset!

Ways to Develop the Growth Mindset

Seminar Agenda:

9:00 AM

Introduction by Principal Sherburn

  • What are the different mindsets?
  • Identifying mindsets in our students

9:30 AM

Professional Development

  • "Fighting the Fixed Approach- A Growth Mindset in the Making."

11:00 AM

Grade Level Brainstorm

  • Promoting and teaching the Growth mindset
  • Examples of mindset development; dealing with Failure

12:00 PM

Closing Ceremony

  • Lunch to follow at La Madeline

Click Here to Purchase Dweck's "Mindset- The New Psychology of Success"


  • Dweck, Carol. Mindset- The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books, 2006. Print.
  • Microsoft Office (pictures)