Form a value line across the room in response to the following questions:
Strongly Agree Somewhat Agree Strongly Disagree
Some children are born smarter than other children
I'd rather have work that is easy
When things are hard, I give up
I don't like making mistakes
Answering questions quickly means you are smart
We can change how smart we are
Think about the way you answered these questions. Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
According to research by Carol Dweck (2006), there are two different views of intelligence. People who believe that intelligence is a fixed state that one has no ability to change, and those who believe that intelligence can be developed over time with practice and effort.
WHAT IS GROWTH MINDSET?
VIDEOS DISCUSSING MINDSET
Dr. Carol Dweck is the mother of growth mindset. Her exploration of mindset began with a look at how students reacted to failure. Dr. Dweck has conducted many research studies looking at brain activity in students as they learn, specifically the part of the brain that demonstrates students are paying attention to information when learning new material. She noticed that students with a "growth mindset processed error information far more deeply...and as a result corrected their errors more and learned more (Dweck, 2011)." Conversely, students with a fixed mindset were only interested in discovering if they got the answers correct, but were not interested in finding out the correct answer or how to improve their learning. From this research it becomes apparent that having a growth mindset plays a critical role in academic achievement.
WHY SHOULD WE NURTURE A GROWTH MINDSET?
Having a positive approach to learning, being resilient when faced with challenges, and learning to use effective feedback to improve leads students down the pathway to academic success (Dweck, 2010)
Growth Mindset Encourages:
1. Risk Taking: students are not afraid to take risks and make mistakes to move their learning forward
2. Meeting a Challenge: students approach challenges with enthusiasm because the focus is on
extending learning, not on grades
3. A Sense of Progress: plan lessons and feedback that incrementally build skills so students can see the progress leading to mastery
4. Curiosity and a Need to Improve: students are interested in finding out correct answers and how to improve skills and strategies to build a deeper understanding of
5. Long-Term Success: growth mindset not only helps students succeed in school, but also in life-long learning goals
(Dweck 2010; Dweck 2006)
Student Generated Video Explaining Mindset
Which Characteristics of Mindset Do You Have?
THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-TALK
CREATING A GROWTH MINDSET LEARNING COMMUNITY
People with a “growth mindset are able to increase their talent, ability, and even intelligence” (Levine, 2015, para. 3) in math by being persistent problem solvers, “gaining additional neural pathways” (Levine, 2015, para. 8) and making stronger mathematical connections. For individuals with a growth mindset the focus “is on learning, not on looking smart” (Ricci, 2013, p.2). Encouraging students to adopt an “I can do it” approach to learning is critical, as students with a fixed mindset are “vulnerable to decreased performance when they realize they are at risk of failing. Students who view intelligence as acquirable (incremental theorists) appear better able to remain effective learners” (Mangels, Butterfield, Lamb, Good & Dweck, 2006, p. 75).
Carol Dweck in her video "Carol Dweck on Performance Assessment" identified that facilitating a growth mindset learning environment motivates students to learn and allows students to remain motivated when they are making mistakes.
Strategies For Creating a Growth Mindset
1. Establish High Expectations: Central to the learning process is creating learning environments that set high standards and expectations for achievement and provides students with the reasurance that they can reach these goals. This can motivate students because they know you believe in them.
2. Create a Risk-Tolerant Learning Zone: Students need to know that the teacher values risk-taking above perfect performance. Make students understand that making mistakes is an expected part of learning and you value their mistakes and next step as an individual. Students need to understand that their learning journey is independent, so they will not be compared to others.
3. Give Feedback That Focuses on Process: Feedback should be goal directed and focus on the strategies used, persistence, and effort. This builds a growth mindset.
4. Introduce Students to the Concept of the Malleable Mind: Educate students about how the brain is malleable and grows when mistakes are made. They need to understand the more you practice a skill the stronger the connections are made in the brain.
“How we view our ability to grow actually affects our success, outcomes and even the structure of our brains” (Levine, 2015, para. 3).
If in a mathematical learning environment teachers hear students make such comments as, “I can’t do math,” or, “I am not smart at math” then this is a fixed mindset, which can interfere with the individual’s ability to achieve success, especially if the student sees a mathematical challenge as beyond their capabilities.
Carol Dweck Explaining Mindset
This is a video production created by Charlton School. It uses stories such as the Tortoise and the Hare and Batman to demonstrate that through effort, practice and persistence students can achieve success. The main message can be captured by this quote shown in the video:
"The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability we will be brittle in the face of diversity" Josh Waitzkin.
Those with a fixed mindset, although seemingly ahead in the early years, will face barriers on their learning journey that will prevent them from reaching their potential.
"Actions are inspired by our thoughts" (Lim, 2008, para. 2). This is especially true when learning new concepts. Teaching children to believe in their abilities will help them to achieve the highest levels in all subject areas. Children who believe they can be success have the confidence to take risks and are motivated to work hard to reach their goals. Positive self-talk is an important strategy for building self-reflective, motivated learners who have high self-efficacy. When a student is faced with a challenging learning situation, positive self-talk will help them develop an ‘I can do it’ attitude about learning. Below is a chart comparing the differences between negative and positive self-talk.
Steps to Building Confident Learners
1. Eliminate Negative Self-Talk.
This is a fixed mindset attitude and will reinforce the ‘I can’t do this’ approach to learning and it will become a barrier to reaching high levels of success.
2. Promote Positive Self-Talk.
Repeating positive statements builds faith in your ability and helps you talk your way through challenges so you can be successful.
3. Confront Fears.
Fear and anxiety can impede learning. Take a step-by-step approach to break down your fears. Use positive self-talk to calm your fears and build your belief that you can succeed.