How do students with a growth mindset see their mistakes?

How Do Students With A Growth Mindset See Their Mistakes?

If you have a growth attitude about a personality trait, an intelligence trait, or your happiness, you think that the trait is malleable, meaning that it can change and improve with work and practice. A fixed attitude, on the other hand, is the idea that a quality is fixed at a certain level and can`t be changed.

Carol Dweck, the most famous expert on the growth mindset, has found that students with a fixed mindset are less likely to push themselves and feel powerless when they make mistakes. Some of these students are as young as preschool age. They don`t want to get smarter; instead, they want to show how smart they are. They`re afraid that failing will "reveal" a lower level of (unchangeable) smartness.

Just what is a Growth Mindset?

To put people into groups based on their unconscious views about their own abilities is one theory of intelligence. A fixed mindset says that people are born with certain skills, while a growth mindset says that people can learn skills through hard work and study.

A researcher named Carol Dweck came up with the idea of a stable versus a growth mindset.


The New Psychology of Success, the professor`s groundbreaking study and 2006 book, made the ideas of fixed and growth mindsets more well-known.

To get a better sense of what a growth mindset is, look at how fixed and growth mindset behaviours and attitudes are different.

Two Types of Mindsets: Fixed and Growth

Fixated and growing mindsets have big effects on how people deal with loss. People with a fixed mindset think that loss means they are not good enough, while people with a growth mindset see it as a chance to get better and work harder and smarter.

You can also talk about goals when talking about the difference between a stable mindset and a growing mindset. People who have a fixed mindset want to look smart because they think that not doing so shows a weakness. People who have a growth mindset are less worried about how smart other people think of them because they believe that they can learn and get better at things by working hard.

Each mindset creates almost opposite learning goals: someone with a fixed mindset wants to avoid looking stupid, while someone with a growth mindset wants to break through obstacles.

The idea behind fixed vs. growth mindset is pretty straightforward, but mind labels are much more complicated in real life. The fact that ideas can be different in different areas is an important part of them. One person might have a growth mindset when they are doing sports or arts, but a stuck mindset when they are doing schoolwork.

Mindsets are also not absolute, fixed states. There is a range of stable and growing mindsets, and even those can be different. In some areas, like maths, a person may have a growth mindset most of the time, but when faced with a particularly difficult task, they may react in a way that is more in line with a fixed mindset.

Dweck says that the growth mindset theory came about in reaction to the self-esteem movement, which said that giving kids lots of praise makes them feel good about themselves, which makes them do better in school.

Mindset researchers suggest a different way to do things. Dweck says that teachers shouldn`t praise students for results or in general. Instead, they should praise students for their efforts and the steps they take to deal with problems and make progress. In this way, they promote the simple but strong idea that people can get better at what they do.

Why Having a Growth Mindset is Good for School

Dweck`s early study showed that promoting a growth attitude in schools could have many positive effects. A study she did showed that encouraging students to take on harder tasks by praising their efforts instead of their brains worked. Another study showed that easy changes in thinking can have an effect. Students who were taught how to improve their brains did better in school and were more motivated to learn in the classroom, according to her study.

Many people, both in and out of school, believe in the growth attitude. In the business world, for example, "growth mindset" has become a hot topic. But some people don`t like the idea. Some doubters say that not many other researchers have been able to reproduce Dweck`s findings, and most of the study that backs them up was done by Dweck and her coworkers. Still, study into mindsets keeps going forward, and more and more proof that a growth mindset can help students learn keeps coming in.

How to Help Students Have a Growth Mindset?

It takes time and practice to learn how to help kids develop a growth attitude. This method needs constant teaching that shows and supports the idea that students can get better. At their most basic level, mindset methods involve putting less stress on results and more on efforts and the process. The teacher doesn`t praise a successful result; instead, they praise the hard work and learning steps that led to it.

Teachers can change how their students think about learning by showing them how to change the way they teach and talk to encourage a growth mindset:

  • Thought with a fixed mindset: "It`s okay if you`re having trouble." Maths might not be one of your strong points."
  • "Learning how to do a new type of math problem makes your math brain stronger," says a person with a growth attitude.
  • Another example shows how important it is to help kids solve their problems:
  • Statement with a fixed mindset: "Great work." "You did everything you could."
  • "The goal isn`t to get it right right away," says a person with a growth attitude. The goal is to help you understand better one step at a time. What else could you do?"
  • Teaching kids how to feel better when they`re having a hard time can also help them develop a growth mindset:
  • Say something with a fixed mindset: "Don`t worry, you`ll get it if you keep trying."
  • "The feeling that algebra is hard is the feeling of your brain developing," says a person with a growth attitude.

A growth mindset method still expects the best from a student—rewarding efforts alone don`t work and can even be damaging if the efforts don`t lead to success. Students learn how to ask for help and use any tools that can help them as part of developing a growth attitude. They are still in charge of learning the subject, and teachers are still in charge of giving them the tools they need to learn.


10 Ways to Help Students Have a Growth Mindset at School

Teachers have to work at it to help their students create a growth mindset, but many of the ideas are easy to work into what they already do. For teachers, the following ideas and techniques can help build a growth attitude in the classroom:

  1. Make struggle normal. It`s normal to have problems when you`re learning, and reminding kids of this helps them deal with problems in a healthy way.
  2. Get people to take on tasks. Show that hard jobs are boring and fun ones are fun and exciting.
  3. Take the word "yet" to heart. If someone says, "I`m not good at maths," adding an easy qualifier will let you know that there is a way to get better. "You`re not good at maths yet."
  4. Tell people how important hard jobs are for the brain. Insist that brains are like "muscles" that can be shaped and strengthened. Mindset studies have shown that thinking the brain can grow has a clear effect on behaviour and success. study on brain plasticity supports the idea of neural growth.
  5. Point out mistakes and praise people who fix them. People should see mistakes as chances to learn. Teachers can show students how to have this attitude by how they handle their own mistakes and how they fix them.
  6. Make plans. Setting small, attainable goals with kids shows them that growth and success are possible.
  7. Add activities where people work together. When people work together to solve problems, they stress the process and how important it is to get help and find answers. It also puts less weight on individual results.
  8. Make things hard. Teaching students how to get past problems is an important part of having a growth attitude. A tough maths problem or a complicated writing task that pushes their skills can help them learn how to solve problems better and help them grow.
  9. Don`t praise smart people. Not surprisingly, compliments on "being smart" strengthen the idea that intelligence is a set quality. This can be discouraging for both students who get compliments ("I`m smart; I don`t need to work harder") and students who don`t get compliments ("That student is smart; I`m not").
  10. Don`t make things too easy. Some people think that telling someone "You can do anything!" is a safe way to boost their confidence. But if teachers don`t give students the tools they need to deal with problems, those students will realise that the teacher isn`t telling the truth.

How to Help Teachers and Administrators Have a Growth Mindset

It is very important to teach teachers and managers about the growth mindset idea. According to research, growth mindset methods work better in helpful places. People who want to promote growth mindset projects, on the other hand, may face opposition. Any organisation or system that needs to change its culture will find it hard. But understanding the problems is the first step to finding common ground and going forward.

Getting Through Problems

Teachers and managers often have limited time, which makes it hard to learn new techniques or put new rules into place.

It`s possible that teachers and managers have fixed views and don`t believe the mindset theory is true.

To get people to support growth mindset programmes, it`s important to show them how they will help kids. It can be easier to change cultures if everyone wants to help kids.

Giving people the tools they need to keep learning

The belief that intelligence can be changed is what makes a growth mindset unique. This belief is a strong way to help students do better in school. Students who think they can get smarter and that working hard makes them smarter will do the work that helps them do better.

Students can remember the lesson that they can always get better at things and learn new skills by working hard long after they leave school. As the COVID-19 outbreak showed, it`s impossible to know what problems students will have when they are trying to learn. Students are ready for a world and work settings that are becoming more complicated by learning how to deal with problems and developing an attitude that doesn`t back down from challenges.

If teachers want to learn more about how learning and teaching can change people`s lives, they should look into American University`s School of Education degree programmes. These include the online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Education (MEd) in Education Policy and Leadership. One of the main goals of American University`s School of Education is to prepare teachers and policymakers to change the education system so that all students can benefit.