Belief is Not Enough

A Growth Mindset is critical to growth and success. Without the belief that we can change ourselves for the better, our motivation flounders. It’s at the heart of a Growth Mindset, which world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck describes as “the belief that you can change your most basic characteristics, such as your talents, abilities […]

Beyond “Not Yet” to “What’s Next?”

A quick survey of social media suggests that a key element of nurturing a Growth Mindset is the word “yet”. In her renowned TED talk, “The Power of Yet”, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck espouses the virtue of “yet”, describing a school with a grading system that includes a category for “not yet” instead of […]

Not all Effort is Created Equal

I am increasingly of the belief that we should ban the word “effort” from the classroom. Praising effort has become all the rage in education—all in the name of Growth Mindsets. The argument goes something like this: If we praise students for their ability or achievements we detract from the importance of their efforts. So […]

Mistakes about Mistakes

There’s a lot of talk these days about mistakes. Should teachers be encouraging students to make mistakes? Should we celebrate mistakes? Are mistakes good or bad? I want to try and put the record straight about mistakes and clear up some of the mistakes I’ve noticed about mistakes. In his blog “Not all Mistakes are […]

You’re not born with a Mindset. You catch it!

I met a mother recently who told me she had read Mindsets. The New Psychology of Success, 5 years ago when she was pregnant with her first child. The book had a profound impact on her parenting and she had resolved to develop a Growth Mindset in her new daughter. She told me that as […]

Beliefs don’t work! So why do Mindsets?

Carol Dweck has shown that student’s who hold the belief that they are capable of developing even their most basic characteristics, tend to do just that. But why should a belief work? Believing in fairies doesn’t make them real. Believing I’ll win the lotto this weekend won’t make winning any more likely. And if I […]

Shift, Don’t Flip Mindsets

No one has a Growth Mindset any more than anyone has a Fixed Mindset, because neither of these Mindsets actually exists in real people, in the real world. When we are learning about Mindsets, it helps to juxtapose the Fixed and Growth Mindsets: to see the world from these two very different points of view. […]

What’s your mindset? Who’d want just one?

Sometimes I’m asked “James, what’s your mindset? And I’m inclined to reply “Which one? I’ve got lots of them”. But that’s only partly true. In Carol Dweck’s research she often talks about a person’s mindset and it’s easy to be mislead into believing that people have just one. But that’s not true. The research only […]

Mindsets change – but that’s not always a good thing.

Is the ability to change your mindset a good thing or a bad thing? In one of Dweck’s experiments she was able to change students’ mindset by simply changing the type of feedback she gave students. To paraphrase this experiment, 7th grade students were given an easy task, one that they tended to complete successfully. […]

A Growth Mindset tells you “I can grow”. It doesn’t tell you how to grow!

As educators, many of us are interested in developing a Growth Mindset in our students because we want to help improve their results. The problem is that a Growth Mindset doesn’t do that – on its own. Let me explain. Carol Dweck has repeatedly demonstrated that students with a Growth Mindset tend to improve more than […]