How do you handle failure? Do you give up, secure in the knowledge that you are not good at that particular task? Do you lose your confidence, unable to overcome this particular setback? Or, do you take it is a sign that you need to try harder to improve in that area? Do you see the opportunity presented by the failure?
These two “mindsets” are explored through the extensive work of Dr. Carol Dweck. Her research documents the plasticity of the brain and how neurons and connections in the brain can change with experience. People with fixed mindsets believe that skills, knowledge and ability cannot be developed. Failure is often difficult to process for people with fixed mindsets, the smallest setback can often be devastating. Adversely, people with a growth mindset believe that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort, questioning and practice. People with a growth mindset learn from their mistakes, increasing their ability and achievement.
Dr. Dweck’s research has far reaching implications for teachers and students. It recognizes that effort and hard work is more valuable than innate intelligence; that the process is more important than the product. Language and belief in one’s ability to grow is essential to moving from a fixed to a growth mindset. At Discovery School, students develop a growth mindset by being open-minded to new techniques or ways of doing things. Students reflect upon their personal strengths and weaknesses to act accordingly, making sure that they do not take the path of least resistance.
Having a growth mindset can benefit students in all areas of their life, not just the academic. It can apply to sports, chores and even hobbies. To find our further information about Dr. Dweck’s work, please go to https://www.mindsetworks.com/default.