Professor Carol Dweck has written a great book called Mindset – the new psychology of success. In it she speaks of two mindset: Fixed and Growth.
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
Mindsets in Education
Using these definitions, let’s assume that growth mindsets are essential in nurturing a genuine love of learning. What does your school do to promote that?
We do a great disservice we do to kids when we label them – even with labels we think are complimentary.
With labels like bright or gifted we create children with “fixed” mindsets who are afraid to take risks for fear of failure and losing their “status”. We create kids (and parents) who are only concerned with marks or grades, rather than the process of learning.
My immediate reflection on reading Dweck’s book was to ask how many staffrooms are gripped by a fixed mindset? You may have heard my Pressure Fear Relief talk that touches on a similar topic.
How many schools sell themselves on the notion that they are the “top-ranking” school in the HSC? How many schools publish their NAPLAN scores as a medal of educational honour?
How many teachers have a fixed mindset about ability and learning? (according to James Nottingham about 80%!) And how does this impact on the education and wellbeing of our students?
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler