Growth Mindset

The difference between Growth mindset and Fixed MIndset

Growth Mindset in School

Exciting New Research

Carol Dweck Ph.D. and her team at Columbia University conducted a study with 400 elementary students, in which the children were required to take three tests. The second test was developed so that every student failed. One group was praised for being “smart,” whereas the other group of students were praised for “working hard.” Researchers discovered the children who had been praised for their effort were open to trying to take the more challenging test, while the children praised for the intelligence were hesitant. What’s really crazy is that, when both groups were given the third assessment, the “smart” group did not perform as well as the “hard-working” group. In fact, the 90% children praised for their effort scored better on the third test than they had on the first test while the other group scored 20% lower than they did on the first test.

Growth mindset is simply the belief:  

  • That effort, and practice make a difference in the quality of an outcome.
  • That mistakes are part of the pathway to learning
  • That challenging oneself is part of growth
  • That the brain is changeable and can grow to become better at any given thing
  • That you can choose how to look at a situation

The Importance of Growth Mindset

Students with a growth mindset have been shown to:

  • Have higher level of motivation
  • Will take on harder tasks
  • Develop an internal locus of control?
  • Continue to try when faced with a challenge
  • Learn about the brain
  • Know their effort is worth it

          How to Foster Growth Mindset in Children

What you can do or say

What it develops

Praise the effort: “You worked really hard on your math test.”

Students begin to believe their outcome is based on how hard they try.

Praise specific skills or behaviors: “You really stayed focused in class and completed your work.”

Students learn their actions have a direct impact on their consequences..

Teach students mistakes are part of learning: “What have you learned from this mistake?”

Students are not afraid to mess up and begin to take more risks in learning.

Teach them the word ‘yet:’ "You do not know long division, yet.”

Students begin to see their learning as a continuous path that they can improve upon (neuroplasticity).

Challenge them to change their thinking> “How can you change that into growth mindset talk?”

Students take ownership of their thoughts and actions.





Brain Jump with Ned the Neuron:

    A short animated video introducing neuroplasticity to children and how to make their

brains stronger. Ages 5-9.

Growing your Mind by Khan Academy:

    A short video explaining the neuroplasticity and the research behind it. Ages 10-16.

One Thousand Steps:

    An animated video demonstrating that hard work pays off. Ages 4-7.

The Power of Yet by Sesame Street:

    Begins to develop the idea of growth mindset and believing that something you don’t know

    is just something you are still working on. Ages 4-9.


These websites offer many great mindset resources for parents and teachers as well as activities to be integrated into the classroom: