Sunday, March 24, 2013

Mindsets (Slice 24 of 31)

This post is a part of the Slice of Life challenge which is hosted on the Two Writing Teachers blog.  The month of March the challenge is to write a blog post a day.

In the past week, I have been reading the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.  I wanted to read the book to understand more about her research.

About five years ago, I finished my Master's degree and my thesis.  This thesis included some action research about group work in math class and self-efficacy.  As part of my literature review, I pored over many studies and first learned of Dweck's theories about fixed mindset and growth mindset. Over the summer, I was very excited to be able to hear Carol Dweck give a keynote address at the Learning Forward conference.  So, I picked up this book knowing some of what I would be reading.  But what I didn't know was that she would present so many real life examples of how mindset can affect your life.  If you don't know about this idea, here is a great infographic that can give you a quick idea:

The section in this book about sports and mindset is fascinating.  The famous athletes she chose to highlight are perfect examples of each mindset and serve to make her point in a very powerful way.  I have been trying to figure out exactly how to teach my students about this and I think some of these examples would be great additions to whatever unit I do end up creating.

When I read the section of her book about CEOs I couldn't help but think about the culture of schools and the way the principal of a school can make or break the culture.  When thinking about the way that people sometimes behave and the idea of professional jealousy, it really clicked.  I always found it so puzzling that so many teachers would balk at change and treat new teachers with innovative ideas poorly.  When I think about it in the context of mindset, it makes sense.  If the teachers who have been there have fixed mindsets, any new innovation would be a threat to their greatness, not an opportunity to improve.  I had thought of the idea of mindsets as a golden opportunity within my classroom to help my students be life-long learners working to increase their intelligence.  However, now I am thinking about the power this theory could have if taught to teachers as well.

Perhaps it is well worth the investment to subscribe to Brainology for students.  I know I will absolutely recommend that my principal invest in the teacher professional development resources available at Mindset Works.  Maybe if more schools helped students (and teachers) to see the power of growing their brain we would see less students stressed out about their perfect grades and more students focused on learning.


  1. I haven't heard of this book, but you make me want to read it. I read Larry Ferlazzo's blog frequently and he writes a lot about how mindset affects student motivation. I have been trying to find kid-friendly articles to help my students develop more of a growth mindset, but I haven't found a lot. I will add this to my to-read list!

    1. This is another great resource for ideas.

  2. I've added the book to my Amazon wish list. Thanks for writing more on the topic.

  3. I love Mindset and yet is one of my favorite words to use with students. Melanie Swider, by blogging partner at has written about how she taught it to students and I think it was Cathy Mere who led a twitter discussion about it over the summer. We also have written about Choice Words by Peter Johnston which is slightly easier to read, but cites Dweck's work and is really powerful, as well. I love to hear about educators who are reading Mindset.

  4. I've heard a little about this book and the concept of Mindset. I've now added it to my GoodReads list.

  5. It is important to help stipudents understand that intelligence is static and their effort makes a difference. I had not thought of mindset as a reason people don't embrace change, but it makes sense. I plan to add this book to me reading list too.