Change your Mindset, THEN change your words!

I want to take issue with one of the more common Growth Mindset infographics: “Change your words. Change your Mindset.” You can find it in various forms on social media and in many classrooms. The problem is, it gets the message we want to send to students back-to-front. Firstly, like many Growth Mindset memes, there’s […]

Mindsets Matter – but that’s only half the story

There is no doubt that Mindsets matter. Research clearly shows that a student’s Mindset is extremely important. For example: A study of all 10th-grade students in Chile(more than 160,000 students) showed that holding a Growth Mindset predicted academic achievement across every socioeconomic level. In California, data from more than 100,000 middle schoolers found that students’ Mindsets […]

What should Mindset-savvy parents look for in a school?

I received an email from a parent recently, asking me if I could recommend a good Growth Mindset school for her child. What a fascinating question! Growth Mindsets are in the public eye. Parents are beginning to recognise the importance of developing a Growth Mindset in their children, to the point where some are looking […]

Growth Mindset and Positive Education

Growth Mindset and Positive Psychology are intimately linked. The intention of Positive Psychology is to help individuals develop the psychological factors that contribute to a well-lived and fulfilling life. These include character strengths and virtues, such as: wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. What’s the connection? People with a Fixed Mindset see […]


No, that’s not a typo. Schlimmbesserung is a German word that means “to make things worse through an effort to improve”. What if our efforts to improve students’ Mindsets were schlimmbesserung? What if they were backfiring and creating Fixed Mindsets instead of Growth Mindsets? This is exactly what teachers risk doing when they jump on […]

Putting Growth back into Growth Mindset!

A popular catchphrase associated with the Growth Mindset is: Mistakes are proof you’re trying. It’s easy to see why social media has latched onto this saying. There are some good messages embedded in it. We certainly want students to try, and we want them to put in the effort. And by associating mistakes with trying, […]

Growth Mindset and Academic results are not separate goals

Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a story entitled “Reduce HSC pressure in favour of a ‘growth mindset’, NSW tells David Gonski”. While the article raises some interesting points, the headline should not be misinterpreted to mean that a Growth Mindset is more important than academic results. A Growth Mindset is not an alternative […]

Do your students “get” learning?

Students with a Fixed Mindset don’t really “get” learning. From their perspective, school isn’t about learning, it’s about discovering what they can do. These students come to class wondering whether they have the abilities required to be successful. The answer is predetermined: they are simply waiting to find out. For students with a Fixed Mindset, […]

A Growth Mindset gives you courage, not capacity

Introducing the Learning Pit 2.0 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: a Growth Mindset is not growth. A Growth Mindset is important because it is the foundation upon which growth is achieved. It is the invitation to grow. It encourages you to engage your Habits of Mind in the process of Virtuous […]

Good. Better. Best. Better.

Language matters. One of the critical lessons from research into Mindsets is that what teachers say and how they say it matters. Language acts as a Mindset Mover. The hidden and unintended messages in our language can push students along the Mindset Continuum, creating either a more Fixed or Growth Mindset. So, as teachers, we […]