Growth Mindset is the buzz all around my district, and I’m guessing many public schools. Heck, maybe Growth Mindset is being discussed in lofty conference rooms with people wearing suits that cost as much as a teacher makes in a month (that’s a pretty cheap suit!). It’s on everyone’s mind, it’s what you can guarantee is going to be a part of any professional development, but it’s not quite so easy to just switch up how your mind works. It takes work, which is perfectly in accordance for what a growth mindset is. But, how does a teacher step back and let themselves develop a growth mindset if they don’t have a growth mindset already?
Just so we’re on the same page, having a “Growth Mindset” is the goal while having a “Fixed Mindset” is going to cause problems. It’s an academic and researched approach to an old adage, “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It’s not some magical fix-it, it’s simple common sense, that if you tell yourself that you’ll get through it, that you’ll figure it out, or that you’re able to figure it out, or that it’s OK to be wrong or fail, you just keep trying, then you’re using a Growth Mindset. If you stop and say that you can’t do it, you’re not able to do that kind of thing, maybe you say you don’t have that gene, you’re using a Fixed Mindset.
I’m reading this book, “mindset: The New Psychology of Success – How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential” and it reads like a self-help book. Carol S. Dweck, Ph. D. packs it full of information but it’s light on the actual study citations. And maybe that’s on purpose, maybe she or her editor wanted it to be accessible to the general public and not just to an academic audience.
Take a look, maybe you’ll learn to have a growth mindset. And if you’re getting caught up in all the stops and starts, the cans and can’ts, try to tell yourself, “It’s not working… yet.”
Oh, and keep your sense of humor. That seems to help lots of things.