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Carol Dweck: Stanford professor, researcher coined the phrase and has been the lead researcher on the topic for the past 20+ years.
“The thinking that intelligence and personality can be developed and are not immutably ingrained traits”
Define Fixed Mindset: Knowledge and intelligence are fixed. Talent is innate and fixed. “I’m just not smart in math”. Often focused on avoiding challenges to preserve status of intelligence. Feeling constant need to prove their intelligence. Sees failure as a confirmation of lack of intelligence.
“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.”-Carol Dweck
Define Growth Mindset: People who believe that their talents can be developed (through hard work, reflection, learning new strategies, and input/feedback from others) are considered to have a ‘growth mindset’. The goal is learning, not the answer. Effort makes me stronger. I reflect on my effort to find moments of new understanding to build a better foundation to learn more/better in the future. People who embrace a growth mindset worry less about ‘looking smart’ and focus on doing something because there is something to learn and it is for that sake, or love, of learning that effort is applied.
Some Common Misconceptions:
- People think it’s the same thing as being open-minded or flexible. #nope
- People Think it’s the just praising/rewarding effort and ‘grit’. #nope This is NOT a “Little Engine That Could” mindset. If effort was all that it took, then anyone could just work really hard and then achieve. It is more complicated than that.
- Growth Mindset will automatically deliver results and you will become more intelligent, et al…#goodthingswilljusthappen. NOPE.
Embracing the process means reflecting on the process.
When that happens, studies (by Dweck et al) have shown that new neural connections are made. Students must be explicitly taught what is happening in their brain. Just being told that a growth mindset will lead to positive changes is not enough.
How to nurture a growth mindset in your children?
Dweck’s research indicates that it can be a simple as reframing the perspective and explicitly teaching the child ‘what is happening’ in their brains.