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Carol Dweck and the Growth Mindset

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A mindset, according to Carol Dweck, is a perception that people hold about themselves. People can be aware or unaware, honest or misguided about their mindsets, but they can have a profound effect on learning achievement, knowledge mastery, skill acquisition, personal relationships, professional success, and many other dimensions of life. Dweck’s educational work and research focuses on the distinction between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets.

“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.” Carol Dweck

Dweck’s definitions of fixed and growth mindsets have potentially far-reaching implications for schools since the ways in which students think about learning, intelligence, and their own abilities can have a significant effect on academic progress and achievement. If teachers encourage students to believe that they can learn more and become smarter if they work hard and practice, Dweck’s findings suggest it is more likely that students will learn more, faster and more thoroughly, than if they believe that learning is determined by how intelligent they are. Her work has also shown that a ‘growth mindset’ can be actively taught to students. For information on how we teach students how to develop a growth mindset, see our KS3 workshop:  ‘Thinking BIG’.



additional links:

Carol Dweck – wiki

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Becoming a growth mindset school

Why the ‘false growth mindset’ explains so much


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