There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who don’t.
All kidding aside, Carol S. Dweck, author of the best selling book, Mindsets believes that there are those people who tackle all kinds of challenges with rigor and enjoy the challenges. They take risks, and are engaged in the process of learning new things everyday. These are the people with growth mindsets. The others, who avoid difficult things, or who believe they just cannot do something well. She calls people who think this, those with fixed mindsets. What she also says is that growth mindsets can be taught.
Dweck has an article in this month’s Ed. Leadership titled: Even Geniuses Work Hard. It’s one of the few articles you can read online without a subscription. Just click the link above. She summarizes her work and discusses how to praise children: not in the product, but in the challenge and process of the work itself. Dweck says that her research “has shown that praising students for the process they have engaged in—the effort they applied, the strategies they used, the choices they made, the persistence they displayed, and so on—yields more long-term benefits than telling them they are “smart” when they succeed.
The article focuses on these areas to help build a growth mindset.
- Emphasize Challenge, Not “Success”
- Give a Sense of Progress
- Grade for Growth
How we grow as individuals, how our students grow, and how our school grows as an organization will depend on relishing and identifying the challenges, taking risks, and working hard.