Student’s in Paula Thompson’s classroom at BFA Middle School have been learning and discussing how beliefs about themselves can influence day-to-day outcomes. They have been learning about “Growth Mindset.”
World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset. Her work uncovered how much of what we think about ourselves as learners is determined by our mindset.
“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.” – Carol Dweck
At BFA, students discussed and envisioned how they could mobilize their resources for learning and talked about how middle school is a time of opportunity – a time to learn new subjects, a time to find out what they like and what they want to become in the future.
“Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.”
Teachers at BFA believe in the growth of the intellect and encourage talent, all while setting high standards for all their students. Teacher’s with “Growth Mindset” believe that student achievement does not remain constant, they help the students see faults and help them work on them, they challenge them to become better peer models and they encourage them to learn new things.
Growth Mindset is an open path for all of us. It teaches us that when we encounter obstacles, we use our mindset as an inner navigational compass.