In classrooms, on playgrounds, and in homes, students continually hear messages, implicit or explicit, about intelligence. The kinds of praise we offer students, the way we respond to their mistakes, and how we react to their successes, all impact their beliefs about intelligence. As a result, students hold implicit beliefs about intelligence, their own abilities, and the abilities of others.
Dr. Carol Dweck has carried out groundbreaking research on students’ understanding of intelligence and how it influences school success. Her work shows that students tend to possess one of two belief systems – or ‘mindsets’ – about intelligence. Students with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is innate and unchangeable. By contrast, students with agrowth mindset understand that intelligence is flexible. Growth-minded students realize that with dedicated effort, their skills and abilities can develop over time. These students tend to approach challenges as ‘bumps in the road’ while fixed-minded students tend to view set-backs as ‘roadblocks.’
Students’ mindsets significantly impact their success in school. Years of mounting evidence shows that growth-minded students tend to have better academic outcomes than their fix-minded peers. In addition, they are more likely to be intrinsically motivated, enjoying learning for the pleasure of learning rather than just to reach an external goal.
Our Research on Growth Mindset
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