In an article published in Achieve Magazine, Betsy Hill and Roger Stark discuss the importance of a growth mindset. The concept of a “growth mindset” comes from the groundbreaking work of Dr. Carol Dweck, whose research has helped clarify why some people thrive on challenges and why others don’t. She found real differences in brain activity as well as behavior between people she characterizes as having a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are all gifts that they came into the world with rather than talents they have developed by working on them, and, if they don’t have them, it’s bad luck that can’t be overcome. People who have a growth mindset believe they can develop their intelligence and their abilities and that’s what enables them to become much more effective learners.
But just believing that intelligence can be changed isn’t enough. We also need to help our students (and ourselves) develop that intelligence and those talents. It’s a two-step dance.
Believing that intelligence can be changed is the first step.
The second step is actually changing intelligence. People with a growth mindset who have teachers or trainers who provide explicit opportunities for them to develop their intelligence and their abilities will become even more effective learners.