Growth Mindset

Beliefs can have a striking impact on students’ achievement
— Dweck, C. (2010) “Mind-sets and Equitable Education.” Principal Leadership, 10(5), 26-29.
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Research has found that:

Students’ mind-sets have a direct influence on their grades, and that teaching students to have a growth mind-set raises their grades and achievement test scores significantly (26).

Having a growth mind-set is especially important for students laboring under a negative stereotype about their abilities such as Black or Latino students or girls in math or science classes. Adopting a growth mind-set helps students remain engaged and achieve well, even in the face of stereotypes (26).

Teaching a growth mind-set also increased students’ investment in & enjoyment of school (27).

Mindsets of Teachers are critical, too.

When teachers had a fixed mind-set, the students who entered their class as low achievers left as low achievers at the end of the year. However, when teachers had a growth mind-set, many of the students who began the year as low achievers moved up and became moderate or even high achievers (pg 28).

It is important for teachers to COMMUNICATE that they hold a growth mind-set (with messages such as these):

  • We believe in your potential and are committed to helping everyone get smarter

  • We value (and praise) taking on challenges, exerting effort, and surmounting

    obstacles more than we value (and praise) “natural” talent and easy success

  • Working hard to learn new things makes you smarter – it makes your brain grow

    new connections

  • School is not a place that judges you. It is a place where you and others work

    together to help your brain grow new connections.

- Dweck, C. (2010) “Mind-sets and Equitable Education.” Principal Leadership, 10(5), 26-29.

Synthesis by Sarah E. Dennis, Ph.D. (June 2014) v. 1