Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck coined the term growth mindset to describe student belief that intelligence and ability can grow with effort. If students believe the brain is a muscle that must be exercised, they’re more likely to interpret setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. Conversely, students with a fixed mindset believe their ability is limited and show less motivation to take on new challenges.
Fostering a growth mindset has become increasingly central to many school cultures, especially for female students. Girls are more likely to believe that their ability is fixed, especially in math. Helping them to develop a growth mindset can give girls the motivation to persevere in areas of study they find challenging because they understand through hard work they can improve and succeed.
The notion of struggle as it pertains to learning is also a big component of the growth mindset idea: in many cultures, the point of struggle is when learning happens, and studies have shown that students have bigger gains in learning and understanding if they’re left to figure it out on their own without teachers’ help.
DIG INTO GROWTH MINDSET