Manhattan Beach Unified School District

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Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset 
"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."  Nelson Mandela

Mindset is a simple idea that has profound implications on learning. Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, researched the relationship between achievement and success for decades. Her research indicates that when students develop a “growth mindset”, they believe that intelligence can be learned and that the brain can grow. Students with a growth mindset demonstrate resilience and grit when facing challenge. Students with with a “fixed mindset” believe that you are either smart or you are not. When students with a fixed mindset fail or make a mistake, they are more likely to give up. Fixed mindset students frequently avoid challenge and instead to choose easier work where they know they will succeed. Fixed mindset beliefs contribute to inequalities in education as research has shown they particularly harm minority students and girls; they also contribute to overall low achievement and participation.

Key findings include:

  • The plasticity of the brain: ability and intelligence grow with effort and practice.
  • The importance of students’ mindsets for learning: when students believe that everybody’s ability can grow, their achievement improves significantly.
  • The importance of teachers’ mindsets for teaching: when teachers believe that everybody’s ability can grow, and they give all students opportunities to achieve at high levels, students achieve at high levels.
  • The effects of ability grouping in all its different forms: these grouping practices communicate damaging fixed mindset beliefs to students.

General Resources & Research
Resources for Educators
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