Growth Mindset (Updated)

A williness to take risks (and fail) is an important characteristic of creativity and innovation

Photo of Jessica Lura
8 17

Written by

HMW we encourage teachers to develop a growth mindset? 

Check out Carol Dweck's TED talk on how to solve problems (link)--it's a great starting point to talk about growth mindset. The power of believing that you can change and grow seems to me an integral part of creating a new culture.  Many teachers I know believe that they are not creative or innovative. 

For more information on her research on fixed vs growth mindset check out this link

Dweck writes, "When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented."

A great link to "Developing a Growth Mindset" (Keith Heggart via Edutopia) contributed by Jeremy D.

The article comments on the use of modeling to develop a growth mindset ("Gerstein has run a number of professional development courses that seek to instruct teachers in how to model a growth mindset amongst students and one of her key principles is encouraging teachers to see themselves as learners, and, just like students are all capable of learning and improving, so too are teachers (Gerstein 2014)."

and well as creating space for new ideas, building in time for self-reflection, and focusing on formative feedback rather than summative 


Join the conversation:

Photo of Aaron Wilson-Ahlstrom

Jessica - great article! It's also been my experience that teachers don't see themselves as creative, and often don't have a growth mindset. There are tremendous structural elements that disempower teachers and push toward this outcome.

I've heard that the National Board Certification process is really rigorous, involves seeking (and then implementing) feedback from numerous sources (self, students, colleagues, supervisors), and propels teachers forward in their professional skills.

HMW create more systems like NBC that would give every teacher a structure for rich feedback, rigorous self-assessment, and a growth plan/mindset?

Photo of Debbie

Thank you for the resources. The PERTS Lab (Stanford University) has excellent resources as well and includes awesome toolkits for educators and parents!
Here is a recent article related to Mind-Set Interventions:
How can we infuse design thinking and growth mindset ideas so that our students and teachers can flourish in an environment that is innovative and creative?

Photo of Jessica Lura

Thanks for the great resource!

Photo of Margaret Powers

Thanks for these resources! Just yesterday, on the last day of a four-day workshop on creativity and passion (explored through the lenses of making and DT), a participant shared how excited she was because she realized creativity can be learned and it can be something she can teach and foster in her students. It's amazing how quickly teachers' and students' perspectives can change when they have some dedicated, consistent time to explore creativity, making, and failing. How might we ensure that every teacher, student, and administrator gets to experience that?

Photo of Jessica Lura

That's such a powerful insight! I definitely think that hands-on maker-typer activities help with this.

Photo of Jeremy D

Hey Jess and Margaret,

Such an interesting area of discussion! The concept of mindset is so important, and I think you both nailed the key aspect: Creating a growth mindset in students is something that will really only happen if we create one in their teachers first.

A cool article on how to create it:

Photo of Jessica Lura

Thanks, Jeremy! I think that we've actually stretched the discussion across more than post. I should probably update the post to include all the information :)

Photo of Molly McMahon

Jess -- you were my first comment. Of course!! I remember that from the fall... you were always so encouraging and building on posts. And really like thinking about how the growth mindset is something we can apply to ourselves and our students. Thanks for all your support -- and helping us debug!