The Author, Carol Dweck on Growth Mindset and “Yet”
What is the growth mindset, and why is it important?
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
Consideration of Impact & Helping Learners Develop a Growth Mindset
How can I help a learner develop a growth mindset? There are at least 100 different ways that this question can be approached.
- I must embody the growth mindset within myself. I have to embrace my failures and shortcomings and accept them as growth opportunities and deeper chances for learning.
- I must be able to demonstrate this in the classroom. How do I demonstrate this in the classroom? (This is where the question becomes tricky.) We live in a society were grades triumph over positive expectations. My goal is to see my learner be successful, however if they don’t have the grade to justifies this belief, I can’t do any more than what the (school-fixed mindset) system will allow me to do.
- The growth mindset is powerful; however, the foundation must be set early on. Students must know that they are valued and respected. Their teacher/mentor must have established trust prior to encouraging the idea of a growth mindset.
Learners must be open to the idea that they are imperfect. This raises its own concern with learners who have a higher expectation of themselves in the classroom. These students tend to think of themselves as perfect and without fault. (Does this sound familiar? These are the students in the fixed mindset.) Helping my learners develop a growth mindset will require a lot of preemptive work that would lay the foundation for the rest of the school year.
The 4 Steps of the Growth Mindset
- Step 1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice.”
- Step 2. Recognize that you have a choice.
- Step 3. Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice.
- Step 4. Take the growth mindset action.
Modelling The Growth Mindset & “Yet” To Learners
Real World: The notion of the “yet” ideology is powerful. “Yet” means that my learners have not mastered what they are expected to have learned in a frame of time. I reiterate, the fixed mindset system is presently based on an alphabetical system of A through F with numbers ranging from 0.0 – 4.0. In a traditional scenario, “yet” means an F. While I would love to change this way of thinking to benefit all learners, I am one cog in a very large grandfather clock that embody the fixed mindset on learning.
My Goal: Yet allows the students to continue to learn in areas that they don’t necessarily understand yet. My goal is to encourage my students to integrate the word “yet” into their vocabulary while also modeling “yet” into our everyday lessons. The idea of yet can be modeled in conjunction with the growth mindset in encouraging students to take accountability of their learning by ensuring that they have mastered the current and past lessons. Learners are often swept in a whirlwind of confusion because they didn’t master a prior lesson. Giving learners the time to master key concepts is highly needed in today’s academic environment.
Personal Experience: In Sylvan, students use an iPad-based system that constantly is assessing their ability over time. The system, Sylvan-sync monitors their growth and difficulty and adjusts until the learner can gain a better understanding of the material. An 65% does not mean failure. It means growth and change. When a learner receives this type of grade, the system will adapts give them a new lesson to help them bridge the gap of what they have not learned.
The Growth Mindset & Feedback /Student’s Attitude Toward Cheating.
Utilizing the growth mindset, feedback would be viewed as constructive criticism designed to help the learner grow. This is a positive that can be used to help our learners greatly advance through their academic instruct and their course work.
Academic dishonesty (cheating) is a different story, however. Cheating must be understood from the perspective of why cheating happens. I firmly believe, cheating is a result of hopelessness. Cheating is the dark spot of education that people demonize yet don’t understand where it is born from.
- Student learners cheat in order to get to college.
- Student learners cheat in order to pass a class.
- Student learners cheat to look good to their families
- Student learners cheat because they are so close to failure, they don’t see any other option to success.
- Student learners cheat because their entire life has been filled with hopelessness and they see cheating as the only possible solution to get them further in life.
Our life culture is a success-based culture. People are looked down upon if there are not successful (it’s just that simple). The growth mindset has the potential to help reduce cheating because it allows learners to be accountable for their learning. At the same time, the growth mindset and “yet” ideology also removes the judgmental critique that comes from the historic letter grade. The practicality of this in the current world is challenging to implement.
Growth Mindset on Grades & Grit
The growth mindset can help limit student learners’ preoccupations with grades by establishing early on those grades aren’t the focus of this course. High achieving students may have difficulty understanding this concept. However, once this concept has been fully ingrained into student learners after a few instances of trial and error, these learners will become more accepting of the growth mindset. Student learners must see that grades do not matter to me as their instructor. If I’m too focused on grades, I’m not focused on their learning. My student learners must see me embodying the growth mindset and focusing on their learning and not the grade book.
Present Experience: In the example of our current class, we were told that we’re all going to get in a period however, the interesting component is that our classmates are still challenging us to be our best selves. The class is self-motivating itself through rigorous hard work and that competitive spirit between each of us. We all want to put our best foot forward. Grit is purely that desire to achieve. (Nothing else needs to be said.)
The Power of Grit
Preventing the Growth Mindset from becoming a fad or being improperly implemented?
Grit has the power to be misused only if you are unaware of your surroundings and the environment in which you empower learners. While true, a delusional optimist has the power to radically change the lives of the learners around him/her. This important detail cannot be overlooked when thinking about the power that comes with the growth mindset and the grit of learners. Bridging connection between lifelong learning, determination and the drive to learn are all things that must be considered when applying these mindsets in the classroom.
If our learners are already at several different disadvantages, then this process must be slow and implemented over the course of time. Moving fast is a disservice to the learners and a reflection of the current fixed mindset already in place. Optimism is powerful enough to keep you progressing, but knowledge & wisdom will ensure your success.
Growth Mindset Progression & How I Will Use The Growth Mindset in CSLE
Student learners need an environment when they can grow and learn from their mistakes. All too often, student learners sit in a classroom and leave with absolutely nothing learned. Learning is multidimensional. My goal may have been to teach a learner how to program a computer. Alternatively, they may leave my classroom knowing how to tie a tie and have a resume built to apply at various jobs after graduating high school. To some people, having not learned the lesson of the curriculum is important and triumphs over whatever personal needs the student learner may have. This is not the case with me. When a student learner enters my room, I embrace the whole package that is the student learner. I embrace their successes and failures and where they see themselves in the coming future.
My plan to implement the Growth Mindset in Creating a Significant Learning Environment (CSLE) for my learners is simple:
- Maintain Flexibility in Student Learning: I will be always flexible with my learners, thus reassuring them that they are valued and respected.
- PBL Evaluation Tools: My evaluation tools for learning will evolve to reflect the project-based learning (PBL) framework to better allow my learners to show case their unique styles of creativity and learning.
- Constructive Communication: Communicate that failure is not a measurement of success. my learners simply have not “yet” mastered the techniques I am impacting to them.
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
Jeffrey, S. (2020, June 23). Change your fixed mindset into a growth mindset [Complete Guide]. Scott Jeffrey. https://scottjeffrey.com/change-your-fixed-mindset/
Stanford Alumni. (2014, October 9). Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiiEeMN7vbQ&t=573s
RSA Animate, (December 15, 2015). To Help Every Child Fulfil Their Potential [Video].YouTube https://youtu.be/Yl9TVbAal5s
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset. (Apr 15, 2016). YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUWn_TJTrnU