1. What are Growth Mindsets?

1. What are Growth Mindsets?

Mindsets are beliefs; the set of beliefs we hold about ourselves and what it is possible for us to do. These beliefs underpin and influence our thinking which, in turn, gives rise to actions. When it comes to learning, students may have a growth mindset, a fixed mindset, or a mixture of the two. In […]

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2. The Habits of a Growth Mindset

2. The Habits of a Growth Mindset

Students with a growth mindset begin with the belief that intelligence, talent and ability can go up or down. This tends to lead to some or all of the following habits: Effort is seen as a path to mastery. Students believe that by applying effort – and targeting it effectively – you can learn, develop […]

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3. Fixed Mindsets vs Growth Mindsets

3. Fixed Mindsets vs Growth Mindsets

Cognitive psychology focuses on our thinking. It does not deny the impact of biological and genetic factors, but it does focus on cognition – how we think – as opposed to the influence of genes and biology. Cognitive psychologists suggest that our thinking has a significant impact on our behaviour. How we think influences what […]

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4. Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset Research

4. Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset Research

Carol Dweck is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her research into motivation, personality and development led her to state and define the terms growth mindset and fixed mindset. Through her work she has developed the theory that individuals possess implicit theories of intelligence, with these sitting on a continuum running from growth mindset at […]

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5. Language and Growth Mindsets

5. Language and Growth Mindsets

‘Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right.’ The above quote is attributed to Henry Ford. It can be traced back further to John Dryden and, before him, the Roman author Virgil. On looking at the quote we can see parallels with growth mindsets and the work of Carol Dweck. In Ford’s […]

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6. The Language of Fixed Mindsets

6. The Language of Fixed Mindsets

Language both reinforces and denies. For example: ‘I am not a natural historian.’ In this sentence, we witness reinforcement through the assertion of a claim, as well as denial through the main assumption implied by the claim (that natural historians exist and that, therefore, I cannot ever be as they are, no matter how hard […]

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7. Giving Students Growth Mindset Vocabulary

7. Giving Students Growth Mindset Vocabulary

To help students talk and think about growth mindsets we need to give them growth mindsets vocabulary. This includes words and phrases such as: Determination Resilience Persistence Grit Targeted Effort Metacognition Thinking about Thinking Perseverance Challenge Good Mistakes Trial and Improvement Learning from Failure Some growth mindset words and phrases will have greater resonance for […]

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8. The Risks of Trait-Based Praise

8. The Risks of Trait-Based Praise

‘You’re so clever.’ ‘He’s a genius!’ ‘I knew she was a natural geographer from the moment I saw her.’ These are examples of trait-based praise. Each is given with good intentions. Each is intended to reflect reality as the speaker perceives it. Each is also intended to reinforce behaviours, actions and ways of thinking which […]

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9. Feedback: Products vs Processes

9. Feedback: Products vs Processes

Feedback gives students access to your expertise. They can use this information to improve their work, their learning and their understanding. They can also use it to help target their efforts more effectively. Students with a growth mindset are more likely to acknowledge this. While they might not always like getting feedback, they will usually […]

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10. Why Targeting Effort Matters

10. Why Targeting Effort Matters

Effort needs to be targeted to be effective. When promoting growth mindsets with our students, we want them to understand that effort is the path to mastery. But mastery is rarely a result of random, undirected effort. Instead, it is usually a consequence of effort being trained, focused and adapted in response to feedback. Consider […]

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11. Your Brain is like a Muscle

11. Your Brain is like a Muscle

Few students, if any, will dispute the fact that muscles change as you train them. Some, however, will argue against the idea that your brain can change. Or, indeed, your mind. The argument usually constructed rests on an assumption that intelligence, ability and talent are innate. If this initial premise is believed, it is logical […]

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12. Five Simple Ways to Target Students’ Efforts

12. Five Simple Ways to Target Students’ Efforts

Effort leads to success. However, effort needs to be targeted if students are to be successful in the classroom. Effort without direction is like running on the spot. A lot is happening but the student isn’t necessarily getting anywhere. Students with a growth mindset understand that effort is a path to mastery. This stems from […]

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