The Growth Mindset


Research completed by Dr. Carol Dweck states that the way our students think impacts their attitude toward learning and how they perform in our classrooms.

  • 90 percent of students who are praised for effort instead of abilities ask for new challenging tasks and persevere in solving them. 
  • Students who are praised for effort view challenges as a way of learning, and embrace them.
  • Students praised for abilities reject the opportunity for a challenge in fear they will not be able to perform as expected.  These students are also more likely to lie about their performance when they do not feel they have succeeded on a task.
  • Students who are praised for being smart (abilities) are less likely to take risks in their learning and if they do not perform well or things do not come easily. They shut down because they no longer feel smart.
  • Students praised for hard work (effort) may find it hard to understand why another student would not want to challenge him- or herself and learn.  (Read more about Dr. Dweck’s studies at Brainpickings.org)

These are the differences between the growth mindset and the fixed mindset student.  A great introduction to the two mindsets is the Youtube video “The Power of Belief – Mindset and Success” by Eduardo Brinceno. 

After you watch the video, feel free to explore other key points of Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on the left toolbar.  If you would like to share any comments or feedback about what you see and read, please feel free to email me at Abbey.Stewart@fldoe.org.  

Two Mindsets Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Fixed Mindset: Intelligence is static - Leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to Challenges: avoid challenges Obstacles: give up easily Effort: see effort as fruitless or worse Criticism: Ignore useful negative feedback Success of others: Feel threatened by the success of others As a result, they may plateau early and achieve less than their full potential. All this confirms a deterministic view of the world. Growth Mindset: Intelligence can be developed - leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to Challenges: Embrace Challenges Obstacles: persist in the face of setbacks Effort: see effort as the path to mastery Criticism: learn from criticism Success of others: find lesson and inspiration in the success of others As a result, they reach ever-higher levels of achievement. All this gives them a greater sense of free will. Graphic by Nigel Holmes