It’s not as simple as “Praise Effort”

Praise is a powerful thing. It has the potential to motivate, guide and support a student’s learning. But it can also derail it. When our praise is focused on outcomes and abilities (“You’re so clever!”, “You’re a real natural at this!”), it contributes to the development of a Fixed Mindset. Students with a Fixed Mindset […]

Fixed vs Growth: Two ends of a Mindset continuum

One of the biggest social media myths about Mindsets is that there are only two: the Fixed Mindset and the Growth Mindset. This is simply not true. The reality is that our Mindset lies somewhere along the Mindset Continuum. This confusion has led to many  misapplications of psychologist Carol Dweck’s work. While Dweck herself typically […]

Getting “Praise Mistakes” right!

In the past, making a mistake was something to be avoided at all costs. How many times were you too afraid to put your hand up at school in case you had the wrong answer? And you certainly didn’t celebrate when you saw red crosses on your page. Sometimes, mistakes really do need to be […]

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. […]