According to Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford Universtiy and author of the book Mind Set: The New Psychology of Success, there are two basic mindsets that shape our lives. We can either have a “fixed mindset” or a “growth mindset.” Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that we are born with all the intelligence that we will ever have and thus our ability level is fixed. Individuals with a growth mindset believe that they can get smarter through hard work, help from others and the use of strategies. Also, a tenant of a growth mindset that I love is that mistakes are not bad. Even when we’re making mistakes, we are growing our mind and learning.
As with most ideas, there is research that both supports the teaching of a growth mindset and others that show limited or little benefit. What then do we hope to gain from teaching a growth mindset in Ms. Kaitlyn’s class? Great question!
At Re-Education Services, we believe that given the right training and tools, coupled with effort, persistence, and a desire to learn all children can experience success. However, it’s not enough that the Re-Education staff believes it, we must instill that belief in our students. A growth mindset is a great way to do just that.
Room six was introduced to the concept of growth mindset through a video by Khan Academy called Growing Your Mind. Followed by a power point further explaining the concept and then offering examples of famous people such as Wal Disney or Lebron James who display a growth mindset.
In our second meeting, we reviewed with the video clip Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset. I then shared a story about a time I overcame a struggle in learning being sure to highlight that it took time, hard work, help from others and strategies to finally overcome my struggle. As a group, we brainstormed ideas for things that we might like to learn to do. Ideas included: salsa dancing, driving, cooking, learning multiplication tables, learning to box, and learning how to play basketball. Finally, we wrote letters to our future self-telling ourself about a future struggle, giving advice about how to reach our goal and encouraging our future self not to give up. Here is my example.
Week 3, we will be creating a growth vs. fixed mindset poster that will look something like this.
Week 4, we will watch the TEDTalk The Power of Belief and have a discussion. We will stop at predetermined spots within the video to reflect on how having a growth mindset or a fixed mindset affected two seventh graders. We will try to figure out how their brain changes and grows.
I want to thank growthmindset.org for these amazing ideas and resources to teach the beginning concept of fixed vs. growth mindset. They have helped us get off to a good start as we continue to grow our minds.
Growth Mindset Poster Image from Reddit
Feature image from USD Sites – University of San Diego.
Letter to myself by Angela McVicker MA, CCC-SLP