Carol Dweck’s concept of mindsets is one of the most powerful tools to enable us to develop independent confident life long learners.  Mindsets, according to Carol Dweck’s pioneering work in the US predict resilience and perseverance in the face of challenge. Mindset is a learner’s belief about the nature of ability. Interventions related to Mindset have been rolled out widely in the USA and its effectiveness is well evidenced. Research identifies two types of intelligence belief, namely growth mindset and fixed mindset.

Individuals using a growth mindset believe that they can develop their intelligence; they embrace challenges and persist in the face of setbacks.  They are learning orientated and resilient learners who recognise the importance of effort and learn from feedback.

In contrast, individuals demonstrating a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence is innate (i.e. “I was born this way/this is what I am”). They avoid challenges and give up easily.  They view putting effort into things as pointless and ignore feedback.  They prefer to appear ‘smart’ so will often choose learning that they can do rather than challenging themselves.

From my own work in schools over the last ten years I have seen the profound effects the teaching of mindsets has in developing resilience, a desire to be challenged, a positive attitude to learning, and greater progress. To effectively develop mindsets within a classroom it needs to be; –

  • Embedded in the culture of the classroom and school, through how you speak, structure your lessons, and provide learning challenges.
  • Directly taught to children through a series of lessons that explore the themes of failure, challenge and effective learning.

The Education Endowment Foundation and Rosendale Research School are using a number of my mindset lessons in an exciting research project.  Further information can be found by clicking on the link below.