Knowledge about how the brain works can make a big difference when confronting difficult learning situations. If you have a growth mindset and are aware of the ability to improve oneself, a challenge can be welcome (versus those with a fixed mindset who are averse to the failures a challenge may bring). Stanford University professor of psychology Carol Dweck, who has been leading the research in this field, discusses “The power of believing that you can improve” in this TED talk. In one example, she talks about students who made vast improvements on test scores once they learned about the growth mindset:

“This happened because the meaning of effort and difficulty were transformed. Before, effort and difficulty made them feel dumb, made them feel like giving up, but now, effort and difficulty, that’s when their neurons are making new connections, stronger connections. That’s when they’re getting smarter.”

Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” – the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it …

Why Talking About the Brain Can Empower Learners 23 February,2016MindShift

  • Patricia Wadman

    Experiences and beliefs shape our expectations of our self and what goals we set in our life. The idea of having either growth or fixed mindset is contingent upon the context in which one is in. If we’ve grown up and always believed that we are not good at math we are more likely to adopt a fixed mindset in this area whereas we might have a growth mindset in other spaces. As teacher’s we need to realize the potential we have to educate students about what they achieve based on their beliefs, experiences and what they can do about it. Students who have an ‘external locus of control” will blame others, whereas students whose locus of control is internal will believe in the themselves.

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