Growth Mindset – January 2017
With a new year upon us, I would like to explore the idea of changing the way we may think. We have all heard the saying “If you believe, you can achieve.” This is a true statement; it has been tested, studied, and proven. Events in your life are the reflection of your thoughts, the echo of your own actions and the thinking behind them. Do you see clarity and possibilities in your goals or are you stuck in a fixed mind-set?
In 1988, Dr. Carol Dweck first presented a research-based model to show the impact of mindsets. She demonstrated how a person’s mindset sets the stage for either performance goals or learning goals. For example, a student with a performance goal might be worried about looking smart all the time, and avoid challenging work. On the other hand, a student with a learning goal will pursue interesting and challenging tasks in order to learn more. In subsequent studies, Dr. Dweck found that people’s theories about their own intelligence had a significant impact on their motivation, effort, and approach to challenges. Those who believe their abilities are malleable are more likely to embrace challenges and persist despite failure. This model of the fixed vs. growth mindset shows how cognitive, affective, and behavioral features are linked to one’s beliefs about the malleability of their intelligence.
The growth mindset is linked to the belief that you can grow your intelligence and you can guide students toward embracing growth when you use specific types of praise. Feedback teachers and parents give students can influence their mindsets in surprising ways. Students who are praised for effort over intelligence exhibit more challenge-seeking behavior. When students are praised for having high ability, they come to attribute their success to a fixed (and unchangeable) quality of themselves. On the other hand, students praised for effort believe that their performance is subject to improvement.
This year, I invite everyone to create a clear vision of success then pursue it with a renewed passion and mindset. The best way to get started with your growth mindset revolution is to identify where you may have fixed mindset tendencies. We all live in a continuum, and consistent self-assessment helps us become the person we want to be. Anything is possible if you set your mind to doing it with clarity and visualize your success. Working together we can assure that the youth of our community learn resilience and thrive with a growth mindset model.