The Study of Growth Mindset


By James Bialasik, High School Principal

Some SGI staff are currently running a book study around the book Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci. Teachers who are involved in the book study are meeting monthly to discuss the key points of the book and what they mean in terms of instructional practice. The concept of Growth Mindset has gained traction in past years after the release of Stanford Professor Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, in 2006. Basically, a Growth Mindset implies that you can always improve and learn more; that the brain is malleable and can continue to stretch and grow in new ways regardless of age. The theory also implies that you can always get “smarter” by working harder. The brain is like a muscle and needs to be challenged in order to grow. As a result, students learn to look at difficult tasks as challenges that they can work their way through with perseverance, focus and grit. This is in opposition to a Fixed Mindset which implies that you either get it or you don’t. With a Fixed Mindset, students see difficult tasks as insurmountable or think, “if it doesn’t come easily, I must not be smart enough.” From the description above, one can see the advantages of continuing to help our students develop a Growth Mindset towards their own learning.

For more information on Growth Mindset check out Carol Dweck’s Ted Talk at: https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve