Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Advantage of Having a Growth Mindset

Stanford Professor Carol Dweck, author of the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, explains the difference between fixed and growth mindsets and why it's important for those of us who aspire to be tutors and mentors to challenge students to be able to admit mistakes and overcome them and to believe that they can grow and learn. Here's a link to an article about it in Stanford magazine.

This is important for those of us who work in communities where educational achievement expectations are so low. Beyond just building skills, a large part of what we need to teach involves belief that learning and academic success is possible. “Study skills and learning skills are inert until they’re powered by an active ingredient,” Dweck explains. Students may know how to study, but won’t want to if they believe their efforts are futile. “If you target that belief, you can see more benefit than you have any reason to hope for.”

Here's a graphic illustration that describes the two mindsets.

1 comment:

thaberean said...

Great stuff. Reminiscent of the work of Harvard dudes Ronald Ferguson and Jeff Howard dealing with issues of efficacy -- how teachers limit student achievement (and students limit themselves) because of something as simple as belief (idea that innate intelligence is a fallacy and that success/achievement comes from effective effort, which is bolstered by belief). Ferguson talks about how teacher perception of student ability is so powerful, and how schools should have a 'learning orientation' rather than a performance orientation (the goal should not be getting something perfect the first time, but learning and experimenting, a.k.a. problem-solving, which is what successful people do -- try something, figure out what does/ does not work, and try something else until the task is done). Sounds very much like Dweck's growth mindset. Good to also study Ferguson's idea of stereotype threat. I think it explains a lot of why inner city kids I know and love don't succeed academically.