Developing A Growth Mindset

Have you read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset (2003)?  If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to add it to your reading list.  I can honestly say that Mindset has positively changed my perception of my students and my own personal ability to grow as learners.  I first read Mindset a few years ago.  I was working as a teacher at the time and I wasn’t trying to go back to school to further my education because I didn’t think I would be able to get in to grad school but I wanted to continue to grow myself and my career.  I was living my life but not living my fullest life or to my real potential.  I thought I couldn’t get in so why try and fail?  After reading Mindset, I realized that I was in a fixed mindset.  As a result of reading Mindset, I was eager to develop a growth mindset, so I went ahead and applied for grad school.  To my disappointment but not surprise, I didn’t get in, but at that point I was willing to do whatever it took to get in.  Even though I was so bummed, I knew that if I didn’t continue to work hard, there was nothing I would be able to do to grow in my career.  After countless hours of studying, I took the GRE and was able to apply to my next choice grad school and was accepted.  I am so thankful that I did not give up and am able to continue to develop my knowledge base and career.  Having a growth mindset helps me get through many of life’s day to day challenges as well as continuing to push myself to grow as a learner.  Developing a growth mindset is important for all people, young and old, to continue to learn and grow to be our best selves.



Having a growth mindset is important for being a lifelong learner and to work hard to be ones’ best self.  When people are in a fixed mindset, they tend to not be as successful; they are often limited by what they think they can’t do, so they don’t try for fear of failing.  People with a growth mindset look at failure as an opportunity to grow and develop their skills.  With a growth mindset, people understand the importance of trying for new things and pushing boundaries.  Teachers and anyone who works with people should encourage a growth mindset which allows for people to understand they might just not be where they want to be, yet.



The message of ‘yet’ can be powerful in influencing the mindset of students.  As a teacher, I feel it is important to encourage leaners to continue to develop and learn.  When someone tells us we failed, we sometimes lose hope and give up.  Instead, if teachers told students they are not there yet hopefully students can develop a mindset to learn that sometimes it takes time before an idea is mastered.  Since listening to Carol Dwecks Ted Talk titled, Developing a Growth Mindset, I have already begun to encourage my students using the power of yet.  Recently, we took a science final and most of the school bombed it.  Instead of telling my students that most of the school failed, I told them we weren’t yet ready to move on from some of the topics covered.  I know that many of my students were upset with their grades (as was I) but I was hoping to try to encourage them that it is not the end of the world and we just needed to work a little bit harder to get where we want to be.

The growth mindset can change the acceptance of feedback.  When students maintain a growth mindset, they are willing to accept feedback; Too often feedback is considered a negative thing but understanding that feedback can be taken to improve oneself, students can begin to see feedback as something positive which can help students continue to learn.  When developing a growth mindset, students become more encouraged to continue to develop their skills and ideas instead of losing hope and giving up.  The growth mindset can help to limit some student’s preoccupation with grades because it can show that grades are not the deciding factor in the mastery of a topic.  Grades matter to school and colleges, but I do not feel are a completely accurate way to assess student achievement. I hate to see when students get bummed because of a report card grade when grades are changing every day and do not necessarily judge how well you are still doing.  Grades measure at a particular date and time but does not compare to how far someone may have advanced from then.



While living with a growth mindset myself, I found it was much harder to teach students how to have a growth mindset.  Developing a growth mindset is important for students to develop as learners, so if I want to promote it, I must model it for my students.  One tip I took straight from Mindset was to promote a growth mindset in my classroom was by praising students for their work effort instead of how well they scored on a test.  I find this is encouraging to students and helps with their wanting to put in effort because it’s recognized rather than by what the actual score was.  Since hearing Dweck’s Ted Talk, I am encouraged to continue teaching using the power of yet; Instead of telling my students they did not do well on an activity or assignment, I will tell them they are just not there yet.  I want to continue to develop growth mindsets in my students and will continue to do research and implement new ideas to ensure my students understand they are not limited by what they can’t do but rather by what they won’t do.  In addition to developing a growth mindset in my students, I have been using my growth mindset to enhance my innovation plan to implement a significant blended learning environment.



Having a growth mindset has significantly impacted my innovation plan in a positive way.  I believe that if I did not have a growth mindset, I might find it hard to accept criticism even though the criticism is helpful and if used correctly, improved my ideas.  With the help of my professor and peers in my courses, I have been able to build and change my innovation plan from using an online program to increase student achievement through tutorials to developing a blended learning environment where students can learn and grow as learners.  When developing my innovation plan, I was not able to see the whole picture of blended learning but now see how there are many aspects of blended learning that work together to enhance the learners experience.



After reading the article, Is “Have a Growth Mindset” the New “Just Say No” I understand how pushing a growth mindset could be improperly implemented or promoted.  People need to understand the true meaning and purpose of developing a growth mindset.  Just Say No was a slogan used for drugs but the problem became that people were curious and wanted to know why they should say no; without providing the reasoning and justification of why people shouldn’t do drugs, they were just as eager and willing to try drugs.  If a teacher tells students over and over to have a growth mindset, but does not promote the ideas and practices, the student will not develop a growth mindset, therefore, defeating the purpose of telling a student to have a growth mindset.  In order to continue to develop a growth mindset in my students, I plan to continue to research to learn new ways to implement change to benefit it needs of the students.


Dweck, C. S. “Developing a Growth Mindset.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, Oct. 9, 2014. Web. 12/15/2016.

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

Gerstein, J. (2015). Is “have a growth mindset” the new “just say no”. Retrieved December 15, 2016, from