Impressions after reading  Mindset Mindset Mindset Mindset Mindset

The nature v nurture argument is now shown to be missing the point when it comes to understanding and supporting the development of a person’s potential. The key factor is the mindset (attitude. The mindset of of both the student and their many educators along their life long learning journey:

  • growth mindset – potential can be recognised and achieved
  • fixed mindset – you’re stuck with the hand your genes dealt you, good or bad
  • anyone can change their mindset
  • best of all, changing mindsets has massive positive impacts for all involved

Importantly for educators, parents and anyone who values quality life long learning,  Dweck shows that simply by praising effort not results we can support and enhance any individuals growth mindset. As someone who once stopped watching sporting friendlies as the pointlessness of the result makes for boring and substandard performances, this seemed all wrong – but life is not sport, and Dweck’s research shows that on an individual basis praising the effort works.

Best of all, put a growth mindset with a support infrastructure that praises effort and a love of the learning process is created and the golden nugget of self motivation, value, thirst for knowledge and experience, greater effort, enhanced growth mindset, self motivation… a virtuous circle.

Key Points

  • Attitude, Attitude, Attitude
  • Growth mindset – good
  • Fixed mindset – stale and limiting
  • Praise effort not outcomes
  • Growth mindset and effort create value and motivation
  • Creates a virtuous circle
  • Mindsets can be changed
  • Low boredom threshold is good – factor of growth mindset

 Is it based on proper research?

Yes. Although initially the self helpy front cover and format and celebrity story telling technique made me suspicious early on. Stick with it though – it is worth it.

 Some Quotes from Mindset

‘The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.’

‘Not only weren’t they discouraged by failure, they didn’t even think they were failing. They thought they were learning.’

‘ Believing that your qualities are carved in stone – the fixed mindset – creates an urgency to prove  yourself over and over.’

‘Is success about learning – or proving you’re smart?’

Even in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, death with, and learned from.

‘…for no matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites (genetic) ability and turns it into accomplishment.’

“You mean I don’t have to be dumb?”

‘But some teachers preached and practiced a growth mindset. They focussed on the idea that all children could develop their skills, and in their classrooms a weird thing happened…The  group differences had simply disappeared under that guidance of teachers who taught for improvement, for these teachers had found a way to reach their “low ability” students.

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3 thoughts on “Mindset

  1. AlanB

    Hi Susan,
    I looked at your review of Bounce and like the look of it – I’ll email you directly to carry on the discussion around the week in week out practicalities of Mindsets

  2. AlanB

    I was surprised I managed to stick to the end of this book, but am glad I did as the key points around praising effort and working hard on creating and keeping a growth mindset seem to be having a positive affect with my kids. We’ve not found it easy mind to move away from setting achievement targets and then heaping on the praise and rewards when they’re met – and the opposite when they’re not – just shows how much us adults fall back on how we were brought up and taught rather than working on our own growth mindsets

    1. Susan Walter

      Hi Alan, couple of questions/ideas
      1. After your initial enthusiasm for praising effort rather than achievement how are you finding it now? If it’s dropped off a bit and carrot/stick etc. is reappearing, try introducing a 1 to 10 scale of effort with your kids for key activities and get them to score themselves and compare to your score – we’ve found this adds some gamification/fun to what can become overly worthy and has highlighted key points for intervention/support, such as when the child has had a bad session/lesson and achieved little but actually tried really hard – they often score low forgetting its effort that’s being scored – and vice versa of course where they’ve not been challenged enough and acheived a lot and give themselves a 10!
      2. Have you read Bounce and/or Brain Based Learning too? If so I’d be interested in your thoughts – if not can I recommend them:
      – Bounce first, as its analysis of some of the accepted facts about talent are a valuable mallet to have in your toolbox if the “she/he just hasn’t got it” whispers start in your mind and it’s assertion that focussed quality practice/effort is key
      – Brain Based Learning next, if you want to understand more about how the brain not only supports the mindset premise but actually thrives on it – be warned though, some of my friends and colleagues (and me) found the scientific language and the shock that a lot of the research referenced is tens of years old, meant a slow methodical read was needed – but, we’ve all found it worth it
      Susan Walter


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