Illalong News

  • 10th November, 2017

Encouraging a Growth Mindset

The quote referenced in the Student Planner this week is by Abraham Lincoln:

‘I do the very best I know how, the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing it to the end.’  

When reflecting upon this quote, I thought about the work of Carol Dweck on Mindset. Dweck (2008) posits that there are two types of mindset when it comes to exploring the beliefs we hold about our basic abilities, such as intelligence and talents, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. 

Those with a fixed mindset believe that talent and intelligence are fixed traits, or set in stone. People with a fixed mindset spend time documenting their talents, rather than developing these talents, believing that talent creates success rather than effort. In direct contrast to this, those with a growth mindset believe that hard work and persistence affect our basic abilities, that ability and intelligence are the starting point and can be further developed through effort. 

To encourage a growth mindset:

  • Praise the effort, not the achievement.
  • Exercise the brain just like a muscle, that is, to improve one must train to build the brain and intellectual functioning; one example of exercising the brain is to embrace new challenges.
  • Learn to use the word ‘yet’. That is, instead of saying, ‘I can’t do complex equations’ reframe this statement to, ‘I haven’t perfected complex equations yet.’
  • Persist when things become difficult.
  • Utilise feedback and criticism from others as a means to improve.
  • Look at the success of others as a means for motivation.

Toni Kirton
Director of Positive Education and Leadership

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