Growth Mindset in Students

By Dr. Sax

Early adolescence is a time of complex transitions with increased responsibility and independence. These transitions and/or changes may often be difficult for young adults, as they are often accompanied by academic and social stress. These stressors go hand in hand with emotional stress and are all interrelated to one’s overall well-being.

A growth mindset is a phrase that was coined by Dr. Carol Dweck (Stanford University; 2006) that refers to students’ beliefs about intelligence and how these beliefs have important implications for their learning, motivation, and academic achievement.

A growth mindset is the understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed. Students with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is innate and fixed at birth, while students with a growth mindset believe that intelligence is malleable and can be developed over time.

Dweck (2006) and her team of researchers observed how thousands of children responded to failure and noticed that some students rebounded while others seemed devastated by the simplest setback giving rise to the terms growth and fixed mindset.

Research shows that growth-minded students are more likely than their fixed-minded peers to pursue challenging work and persevere despite setbacks.

Moreover, growth-minded students are more likely to be intrinsically motivated, have higher academic achievement, and become lifelong learners.

Further, research suggests that teachers can use the following strategies in their day-to-day teaching practice to promote growth mindset among students:

  • teach students about brain plasticity,
  • emphasize the role of effort in success,
  • model a growth mindset for students,
  • use formative assessment to emphasize the process of learning,
  • engage students in metacognitive activities to help them reflect on their learning, and
  • encourage students to adopt prosocial attitudes that foster supportive relationships.

Dweck, Carol (2006)
Copyright Learning and Wellness L+W (2019)