Tag Archives: mindset

To maximize learning, experts are encouraging teachers and students to shift from a fixed mindset, based on a student’s innate talents and strengths, to a growth mindset, focused on strategies to make new brain connections through input from others and learning from mistakes. Carolyn Woo of Purdue University suggests that “IQ and college entrance tests lean toward a fixed mindset, as they employ a snapshot in time as indicators of future potential”. It does not follow, however, that a student’s score must merely be a summary of his fixed assets, therefore unchangeable. Effort is a key to change, but the tests are designed to deny admission to better scores through mere practice. Let’s consider how Carol Dweck’s elements of a growth mindset will unlock better scores. In her book Mindset: the New Psychology of Success, Dweck asserts that seeking help from others, trying new strategies, and capitalizing on setbacks foster…

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Many students become convinced somewhere along the line that they are “bad at math,” or that their brain isn’t wired for math. In some cases it is just a matter of finding the subject uninteresting. But, at its worst, this self-definition can have deep impacts on a student’s ability to achieve. Certainly, skills in all areas differ from person to person—-very few of us are going to win a Fields Medal—-but how much truth is there to the idea that otherwise talented students are inherently “bad at math?” Well, it turns out that the typical student is about as bad at math as they are willing to be. Of course, students vary widely in their math aptitude, including grades in their math courses and scores on their standardized tests. Surely, that implies something about math ability, but research is showing math aptitude may have a lot more to do with…

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For most of us, life consists of constant moments of analysis, definition, and reevaluation. Basically, we’re always trying to figure ourselves out. A strong sense of self can, in certain contexts, provide great clarity and comfort. Other times, however, we place ourselves in boxes that restrict our options and limit our successes. One of the great modern insights into achievement and success comes from psychologist Carol Dweck, who introduced the concept of mindset. Mindsets are essentially the beliefs we hold about ourselves and our abilities: — A fixed mindset believes that abilities are innate and static. — A growth mindset believes that abilities are able to be improved. Essentially, as the saying goes, if you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right. Since achievement depends so directly on mindset, we should be careful to cultivate a growth mindset in ourselves and others. Doing so, however, requires more…

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