Before students arrived to school for our 7th Annual Day of Service and Learning, the faculty at Wheatley spent the morning discussing the ideas present Carol Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Faculty members received this book back in June as part of a district-wide effort to discuss the ideas present within.
First published in 2006, “Mindset” argued that success derives not just from one’s abilities and talents, but whether one pursues goals with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. In general, those with a fixed mindset believe that one’s abilities and talents are fixed and cannot be changed. As a result, every contest, competition, test or performance becomes a measuring stick against which one’s actual intelligence is evaluated. Curiously, this mindset causes one to avoid challenges, give up in the face of obstacles, and ignore feedback.
By contrast, those with a growth mindset believe that intelligence and talent can be developed and improved through hard work and persistence. Those with a growth mindset relish challenges, are more resilient, see effort as the key to improvement, and learn from the feedback of others.
The discussion around the book took place in small groups. Before breaking into groups, we all watched Dweck’s TED Talk:
Some of the discussion points related to the book included:
- What factors might cause a student to do poorly in class?
- In what ways do you demonstrate to your students that they are in charge of their academic success—that their effort is the key to their success?
- How often do you make comments that emphasize being smart versus working hard?
- In what ways do you show students that discoveries and insights almost inevitably stem from failures rather than from successes?
- To what degree do you see a student’s Ds and Fs as inevitable?
- To what degree do you see a student’s straight As as an indicator that the student may not be experiencing appropriate challenge—may not be growing?
- How do you share your own failures and persistence with students to ensure that they see you as an adult who believes that continued effort will win the day?
- In what ways do you monitor your students’ mindsets and help them with goal setting and progress monitoring to ensure that each of them will develop a growth mindset about learning and success?
For educators, coaches, parents and business executives, the ideas in Dweck’s book are both important and relevant to our day-to-day work. If you are interested in learning more about Dweck’s ideas, visit: Mindset Online or Brain Picking’s Fixed v Growth Mindset.