Cognitive Science for Learning: Dweck’s fixed mindset vs growth mindset

Article link:

Before jumping into the gory details of the articles, I came across this on my twitter feed when I searched for #growthmindset. It is using the classic image that says “Keep Calm and Carry On”, but it really summarized a growth mindset… #failforward!


The referenced article details 4 steps to change your mindset from fixed to growth. Mindset is a simple idea discovered by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck. Simply put, in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. Alternatively, in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, creating a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. 4 basic steps to change to a growth mindset include:

  1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset voice
  2. Recognize that you have a choice
  3. Talk back to it with a growth mindset
  4. Take the growth mindset action

Reading the necessary steps to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset forced me to reflect on my own tendencies. While I may sometime fall into a fixed frame of mind, perseverance and effort are qualities I try to embody as much as possible. When teaching, it may be easy to relax and fall into a fixed mindset, especially if you are teaching the same materials semester after semester. In order to keep into a growth mindset, I will challenge myself to create better content, more engaging lectures, and put in effort for the good of the students. This mindset will hopefully passively, or actively, transfer to my students. Looking at the steps in more details, learning what that fixed mindset voice sounds like will be a very important skill to have. When it is not possible to recognize a fixed rut I may be in, I try to surround myself with people that would call me out, and encourage growth. Further to this, in the classroom, I will try to help students recognize their fixed mindset voice, and encourage them to follow a few easy steps to get into that growth mindset… easier said than done!


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