April 9, 2019
Do your students have fixed mindsets or growth mindsets? Encouraging growth mindsets is vital for creating resilient learners and strengthening relationships with learning, success and failure.
A learner with a fixed mindset is likely to see intelligence as something that is predetermined and unchangeable. You might hear such learners saying 'I’m rubbish at that' or 'This topic is so hard, I just can’t do it'.
Contrastingly, a learner with a growth mindset will believe their intelligence is changeable, and with effort and practice it can grow and be improved upon. They understand that ability stems from how hard they work rather than a predetermined level of intelligence.
The idea of growth mindsets was developed by psychology professor Dr. Carol Dweck, who found that students' perception of their own abilities, and whether they could be changed, had a huge effect on their motivation and achievement.
Students with growth mindsets will be more willing to try new tasks and ultimately learn more. They view failure as a sign that they need to work harder, not that they are less intelligent. Contrastingly, students with a fixed mindset have a more fragile idea of intelligence and are less likely to try challenging things that may disprove their apparent intellect.
With the inevitable need for assessments, it can be easy for learners to fall into a fixed mindset. Teachers and tutors therefore play an important role in helping learners develop growth mindsets through the way they teach and engage with them.
There are a number of ways to do this:
Importantly, teachers and tutors should show that they too have growth mindsets, and demonstrate to students that learning is a life-long process.