Growth Mindset

Essential Question

What is Growth Mindset?

Growth Mindset

Activity 1: Mindset Survey

Complete this survey honestly.

Mindset Survey.pdf

A mindset is an established way of thinking. It is a set of beliefs or a certain way of thinking that will determine your behavior, outlook on life, and attitude toward the events, circumstances, and people around you. A growth mindset is about believing you can grow and improve your abilities. This is different than a “fixed mindset.” People with a fixed mindset believe intelligence and abilities are something you are born with and cannot change dramatically.

Growth vs Fixed Mindset.pdf

Your brain gets stronger when you exercise it—just like muscles get stronger when you exercise them. Training your brain isn't always easy or comfortable. In fact, your brain uses up 20% of the oxygen and blood in your body because it works so hard. Here are some examples of how your brain grows when you learn new things:

Learning math strengthens the parts of the brain that are linked to memory, thought, and action. Imagine that! f you spend time learning new math skills, you can actually grow your brain so that skills unrelated to math improve as well. Remember when you first learned how to add and subtract? You got faster and faster with more practice. That’s because your neurons were learning how to work with each other, and then your memory improved. But memory is useful for more than just math. That same part of your brain helps you remember basketball plays, dance routines, and even nice memories with your friends and family.

Practicing an instrument improves the visual, auditory, and motor sections of the brain. It also strengthens the bridge between the two halves of your brain, allowing messages to get across the brain more quickly!

Learning or practicing anything: - YES! ANYTHING! Learning and practicing helps strengthen and change our brains. Your brain is changing and creating new neural pathways when you struggle to learn something new. In other words, there’s a lot happening in your brain when you’re learning. All learning can build new information pathways, but learning things that are challenging for you can supercharge your brain growth.

Adapted from Khan Academy.

Talk with a Growth Mindset

It’s normal to have both a fixed and a growth mindset talking to us and competing for our attention. Sometimes we listen to our growth mindset. We say to ourselves, “You can do this!” and think, “I’m not giving up!”Other times, our fixed mindset shows up. It might be triggered by a mistake, a failure, or criticism from someone.

Our fixed mindset voice says things like, “I'll never be good at this. It's too hard. Just give up.” And sometimes our fixed mindset takes control, filling our head with thoughts like, “I’m not artistic”, “I’ll never be a good writer”, or “I’m not a math person.”Everyone falls into the fixed mindset sometimes. We just need to notice when our brains are stuck in a fixed mindset and remind ourselves that our brains are built to grow, change, and learn.

What can we say?

When you get stuck, try using these strategies to jumpstart your growth mindset:

1. The power of yet: Add yet at the end of your fixed mindset statements.

Example: “I can’t do this.” → “I can’t do this YET!”

2. Say stop: When your fixed mindset voice is getting out of hand, tell yourself to stop and clear your mind before continuing.

3. You instead of I: It’s easier to pump yourself up and give yourself crucial advice using the word you instead of I.

Example: "I got this." → "YOU got this!"

Adapted from Khan Academy

Activity 2: Growth Mindset Poster

Throughout the year, we might hear our fixed mindset voice telling us we can't do something. So, we need to remind ourselves that our brains are built to grow, change, and learn. So create a Growth Mindset poster to remind you and others to have a growth mindset when you face a challenge. Be sure to include images and a slogan, phrase or quote. Make it colorful and do your best!

Extension Activities

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset

"There are two types of mindsets we can cultivate. One that embraces problems as opportunities to learn, and one that avoids them, often out of fear to fail. People that avoid conflicts can be described as having a fixed mindset. Those who see problems as interesting challenges have a growth mindset. Sometimes we like to switch from one to the other. "

The power of believing that you can improve

Carol Dweck

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 … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.