Growth mindset is the belief that our core abilities can be changed through hard work and dedication. It is the understanding that every time we learn something new, our brain creates new connections and we get smarter. This differs from a fixed mindset where we believe that our intelligence, talent, and personality traits are established at birth and are mostly unchangeable.

For example, with a fixed mindset, we may think we are either good at math or not. Effort, in that case, is seen as a bad thing and is proving that we aren’t smart or good at something. With a growth mindset we know we are on a path of learning math and that mastering all things takes effort. Effort is positive and means we are working up to our potential instead of choosing easy things that we know we can do without trying.

Having a growth mindset helps us put more effort in and leads to higher levels of success because of this. Having a growth mindset helps us to continue working at something even when it gets really hard and to see our failures as opportunities to learn and grow. It helps us to enjoy the process of what we are doing instead of caring only about the end result.

1. A growth mindset helps us bounce back from challenges at school
2. A growth mindset increases how much we enjoy learning new things
3. A growth mindset reduces cheating and lying in order to look smart and instead helps us remain involved and try new strategies
4. A growth mindset increases how often we choose difficult and challenging tasks
5. A growth mindset increases our grades, including math scores

Stories of growth mindset are about hard work, dedication and enjoying the process of learning and growing. They are about learning from the moments when things don’t go our way and trying again without being too hard on ourselves. These stories often involve overcoming labels or stereotypes and believing we can improve at anything if we combine working hard with learning from mistakes. For example, there are many stories of professional athletes who are told as children that they don’t have the skills or body type to succeed. All of those athletes had to use a growth mindset to overcome the obstacles and stereotypes around them, believing they could be great players with hard work, dedication and the right training.

This month, students will be discussing how we can develop this skill of a growth mindset.  Themes that will be explored include how we learn from mistakes, to not fear failure, to enjoy the process of learning new skills and ideas, and to do things that are hard for us.