Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, researcher, and author, refers to these two very different outlooks on learning as the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. According to Dweck, these mindsets have a profound impact on students’ success—in the classroom and beyond.
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that we are each born with fixed intelligence and abilities and that our personal efforts have relatively little impact on those abilities. However, if you possess a growth mindset, you believe that our intelligence and abilities can grow and improve over time through personal effort and perseverance.
In short, students benefit from knowing they can learn. Students with a growth mindset have higher self-esteem and more motivation to seek out challenges and learn from mistakes. They view a rigorous curriculum as an exciting and energizing challenge that can lead to success. They understand that just as people get stronger and more agile by training and working out physically, working out the brain can increase strength, agility, and, most importantly, learning potential.