Why do people differ in their assets and limitations? What is the meaning of success or failure? Is there a link between mindset and school achievement? These are some of the important questions the American psychologist Carol S. Dweck asks in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
According to Dweck, there are two mindsets: fixed and growth-oriented. Those with fixed mindset tend to believe that their talents, abilities and skills can’t be improved. However, those with growth mindset believe in progress. For them, hardships and setbacks are nothing but an opportunity to grow.
At school, we have students who seem to think they have no talent or skills, and we also have those who blame their failure on everybody else. Instead of learning, they often use their energy for protecting their egos, and they are quick to give up. Both groups have fixed mindset.
In contrast, growth-oriented students use their school years to build a solid foundation for their future. It’s a wonderful time for young people to come to terms with themselves, and to sort out things they really want to do after school. These students are typically driven by many opportunities for learning and growth.
False growth mindset
Whenever we simply praise our students for their intelligence and innate abilities, we mislead them. Growth mindset has actually nothing to do with what we like about ourselves, how much effort we have put in, or how much we believe anything is possible. But it has everything to do with steady progress and deep learning. Growth mindset means we believe we can improve our abilities.
Dweck describes great teachers as those who “believe in the growth of intelligent and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning”. She then admits that teachers are not that selfless at all. Why? Because “teaching is a wonderful way to learn. About people and how thy tick. About what you teach. About yourself. And about life“.
We couldn’t agree more!