Transitioning to a Growth Mindset

I can file this week’s readings under “Tough Pills To Swallow”… I do not have a growth mindset.

In the article Even Geniuses Work Hard by Carol Dweck, I was struck by how much I saw myself in the descriptions of students with Fixed Mindsets.

I was in gifted programs and accelerated classes throughout school, even skipping 4th grade and finishing my high school classes in 3 years. I went to college at 16 and had no problem doing well in classes. Looking back, though, I see that I shied away from challenges throughout my education. I stopped playing basketball when I stopped getting taller because I knew I would have to work harder to be as good as the taller girls. I dropped out of my AP classes in high school because they were more in-depth than I wanted to go and took more time than I wanted to devote to them. I would be going to college early anyway, so why worry about getting credits in high school? I didn’t apply for the music program at Georgia State even though I’d played violin since I was 3 because the longevity of my training no longer put me above those who worked hard and practiced- the kids who had only started in middle school were beginning to pass me by. I knew I was smart so I saw nothing to be gained from a challenge.

While Dr. Dweck’s article and video helped me understand that I do not currently have a growth mindset, Eduardo Briceno’s video helped me understand what I need to change. I need to realize that I am not simply good at some things and not good at others. This isn’t about pessimism vs optimism. Believing that I am simply “a natural” at something stunts me just as much as believing that I’m just not good at it. Both mindsets are fixed and hinder growth.

During Briceno’s video I also learned how I can affect the mindset of my students with my praise. “You must have tried really hard,” as opposed to “you must be really good at this” teaches students that the process is praiseworthy, not the result and students who are given growth-mindset praise are more inspired to challenge themselves.

When I look back at my learning goals from my first blog post, I see that at least 2 if not all 3 of the goals are fixed. They are achievable points on a checklist that I hope to check off and be done with. I will have achieved my first goal when I feel I have an active PLN formed. While having a PLN is important and remains one of my goals, I now recognize that the development and use of that PLN is the goal, not just its formation. My third goal was to have a plan for what I want to do with my instructional technology degree. Again, this goal is about the result, not the process. The goal should be to continue forming ideas related to my future career, continuing my quest for information and inspiration and eventually finding a job that allows me to further that quest.

Published by Sara

Educator - Blogger - Content Developer - Digital Marketer

4 thoughts on “Transitioning to a Growth Mindset

  1. What a wonderfully raw post! Your honesty and transparency helps me, and I’m sure others, know that we are among friends when learning how to grow new neurons. One of the strategies you mentioned that I plan to use with myself as well as my students is the type of self-talk and feedback I employ. Instead of lauding innate intelligence, I will be sure to place the emphasis on persistence, effort, and grit. Briceno’s TED Talk hit home in many areas for me, but this stands out to inform my teaching going forward. Thank you for this post!

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  2. Like you I was looking at my 3 goals as things to check off my list, but after this weeks readings and the videos I’ve been thinking about them in terms of how can I share the outcome of my goals with others. Until this week I really thought I was doing pretty good about having a growth mindset but defiantly had to reexamine my thoughts on all this. I was familiar with Dr. Dweck’s work but hadn’t seem or heard of Briceno but really enjoyed his video and ended up watching his TED Talk and like Jeneane said it was really powerful as well, gave me lots to think about as this school year ends and starting to think about next year. Thanks for being so open.

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  3. Thank you for your thoguhts! Even though I am someone who values different ways of thinking and being able to solve problems, I sometimes find myself praising intelligence and/or talent instead of effort. I feel that it is something that has been ingrained in us and we just need to keep working toward the change.


  4. I thought I had a growth mindset, but after reading Dweck’s article I realized have a bit of both types. However, I see a tendency to lean more towards a fixed mindset, almost unconsciously.

    The statement, “You must have tried really hard” made me think about how I give public or private praise to my students. This strategy you pulled from Briceno’s video really helped me see how I can better encourage my students to have a growth mindset, looking at the how rather than just the end result.

    You made an awesome point about how we word our goals. When writing them, I agree that we need to keep the process in mind.


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