Understanding the Fixed and Growth Response: The First Step to Changing Mindsets

The Fixed Mindset has been getting a bad rap. We know how people with a Fixed Mindset tend to behave. They avoid challenges. They give up easily. They dislike effort. They are threatened by the success of others. These behaviours are sometimes described as “lazy”. It’s often assumed that people with a Fixed Mindset simply […]

Why are we still talking Fixed vs Growth Mindsets?

So much of what you read about Mindsets these days considers that there are only two opposing Mindsets. That is, the Fixed Mindset versus the Growth Mindset. Looking at Mindsets this way has helped us understand psychologist Carol Dweck’s work. It has also highlighted the importance of developing a Growth Mindset. However, an over-emphasis on […]

Where are you on your Growth Mindset Journey?

Becoming a Growth Mindset Teacher, takes more than the incomplete messages of “Not Yet“, “Praise Effort” or “Celebrate Mistakes” which abound on social media. To go beyond the Growth Mindset gimmicks requires deep thinking. You’ll need practical tools and strategies to be successful in this journey. Developing a Growth Mindset culture at your school requires […]

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 […]

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. […]