The Importance of Mindset

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Importance of Mindset

Posted by Catherine Lake in General

 Have you heard about the work of Carol Dweck? She is a researcher at Stanford and, along with others, she has discovered some amazing things about the way our attitude and thoughts affect the way our brain grows physically.

 In a nutshell, students who have what she calls a "growth mindset" are willing to attack difficult problems and to work harder than students with a "fixed mindset". Students with a fixed mindset tend to give up easily when faced with a difficult problem or to choose easier problems that they know they can solve. Children with a growth mindset are not discouraged by making mistakes, but challenge themselves to learn from setbacks. A student with a growth mindset that is willing to struggle actually grows his/her brain and gets "smarter", but a child with a fixed mindset does not. 

I think we would agree that we would rather have the students in our class have growth mindsets than fixed mindsets. The good news is that we can teach students to change their mindset. Here are some great resources to help:

 This article is a great introduction for teachers and parents to learn more about growth mindset.

This lesson plan is from Khan Academy and PERTS and has great videos attached to the lessons.

Great printed resources can be found here - including a Welcome Back to School letter, a resource for communicating a growth mindset to students, and even an effort rubric.

Here you will find a list of books that can be used to teach about a growth mindset along with suggestions. There is also a wonderful new book called The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. 

Finally, I worked with Mary Francisco's class at Ralph Dunlap School to create a video by and for kids about growth mindset. If you would like to show it to your class (probably best suited for elementary), please email me ( and I will send you the link. 


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