Becoming A Growth Mindset School
On our training day in September we launched the idea of becoming a growth mindset school to all of the staff and governors. The staff team included teachers, support, administrative, site, extended school – everyone!
What is Growth Mindset?
Growth Mindset is the idea Professor Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Dweck has conducted a lifetime’s research into mindsets and established an opposition between a fixed mindset (the belief that intelligence is fixed) and a growth mindset (the belief that intelligence can grow). The differences Dweck establishes are well illustrated in this helpful infographic by Nigel Holmes.
Dweck’s approach to mindset was sparked by her own experience of education. In her book, she describes what happened in her sixth-grade class:
Even as a child, I was focused on being smart, but the fixed mindset was really stamped in by Mrs. Wilson, my sixth-grade teacher… She believed that people’s IQ scores told the whole story of who they were. We were seated around the room in IQ order, and only the highest-IQ students could be trusted to carry the flag, clap the erasers, or take a note to the principal. Aside from the daily stomachaches she provoked with her judgmental stance, she was creating a mindset in which everyone in the class had one consuming goal—look smart, don’t look dumb. Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class?
Our aim as a school has to be to build the growth mindset in our young people, and avoid the fixed mindset that can trap them into a premature plateau and cause them to fall short of their unknowable potential.