|Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck's research into children's Self-Theories shows how their
Mindset on intelligence affects their motivation to learn and their aspiration
to achieve. A Growth Mindset means a child will be open to challenge
and welcome feedback, whereas a Fixed Mindset gives them a view that
nothing will change their "fixed" intelligence.
Carol Dweck has been carrying out research in States.
She is particularly interested in how students view
themselves as learners and she has found that their
self-theory is likely to have a major effect on their
self-belief and their motivation to learn. Carol
describes the hallmark of successful individuals as that
"they love learning, they value effort and they
persist in the face of obstacles"
Most EAZ schools are now using Self-Theory
questionnaires to determine which Y5/6 children have a
Fixed Mindset on intelligence (Entity Learners) and
which have a Growth Mindset (Incremental Learners).
We use this as a starting point to discuss the mindsets
with them and to promote the Growth Mindset. We
have found that children respond surprisingly quickly to
a Growth Mindset classroom environment and their
mindset can soon change.
Carol Dweck has written two major books about how
our Mindset affects our aspirations and achievement.
The first book Self-Theories: Their Role in
Motivation, Personality and Development describes
her research with children, which shows how those who
have a fixed mindset tend to limit their aspirations and
wilt when the work gets difficult, whereas those with a
growth mindset are not afraid of failure and are much
more resilient when faced with tough problems.
The second book Mindset: The New Psychology of
Success relates this research not only to children's
progress at school, but also to adults' progress in the
fields of sport, business, management and even
This link takes you direct to Carol Dweck's website
Link to Carol Dweck's Mindset Online
This link takes you to the Centre for Confidence website
in Glasgow, which has lots of information about
Self-Theories and downloadable Powerpoints to use
with children and adults.
Link to Centre for Confidence
In the 1990's we were told that PRAISE was the key to success.
"Everyone thrives on praise", they said, so all we had to do was keep
praising our students for every success, however small. This would
boost their self-esteem and improve their willingness to accept
We now know that this is simply not true. Carol Dweck explains in this
article how the wrong kind of praise (praising intelligence or
"cleverness") can have the opposite of the effect intended.
Praise can be dangerous PDF
|Click on any of the
blue boxes to find
out more about
|Self-Theories: Entity(Fixed) v Incremental(Growth)
|I believe that
intelligence is not fixed
My intelligence can be
|I thrive on challenge
I throw myself into
I am self-confident
|I can ignore the
low aspirations of
|I react to failure by
I engage in
|I have learning goals
I like feedback on my
performance so I can
The above diagram shows the likely attributes of a student with a Growth
Mindset. These students usually value school and are keen to do well. But
only about 40% of students have a Growth Mindset. What about the 40%
who have a Fixed Mindset, who consequently don't welcome feedback and
lack confidence? Click on this link to see their Mindset: Fixed Mindset