Growth Mindset

Why does growth mindset matter?

Students with a growth mindset tend to see struggle as a natural part of getting better at something. When they encounter something they can’t yet do, they increase their effort, try new strategies, and end up learning more. Research shows that a growth mindset predicts increased academic achievement and can help narrow achievement gaps.

Though students with growth mindset view challenge as an important part of learning, it doesn’t mean that students “just need to put their heads down and work harder.” Instead, students with a growth mindset see many ways to grow their abilities. They can recognize when they need help, and seek out new strategies.

Observing growth mindset

Students with growth mindset might

  • ask the teacher to demonstrate a new way to do a math problem
  • volunteer answers in class even when unsure
  • ask a question even if might seem basic
  • seek out problems that will push them, rather than problems that stay safely within their comfort zone

Teachers with growth mindset might

  • set and publicly share teaching goals ("I am working on giving feedback to every student every period")
  • reframe deficits as opportunities for growth
  • ask others for better strategies
  • seek mentorship
  • avoid language that implies a fixed mindset about their own abilities, ("I've never been great at math")
  • share their own mistakes with students, and vocally embrace it as a chance to get better

Videos about growth mindset

Research articles about growth mindset

Parents’ views of failure predict children’s fixed and growth intelligence mind-sets
Psychological Science, 27(6), 859–869.
Haimovitz, K., & Dweck, C. S. (2016)

The origins of children's growth and fixed mindsets: New research and a new proposal
Child Development.
Haimovitz, K., & Dweck, C. S. (2017)