Carol Dweck: ‘The whole idea of growth mindset is to say yes they can’

From tes, Kaye Wiggins shares Carol Dweck’s comments on how teachers should be using the concept of a growth mindset.  She writes:

““Teachers used to say, ‘Here’s a student who’s not very clever, they can’t really learn’,” she says. “The whole idea [of the growth mindset] was to say, ‘No, they can’. They can gain intellectual ability if you’re teaching them in the right way…It’s the educator’s responsibility to foster these attitudes, rather than labelling or stigmatising students for not having them.”

But Professor Dweck admits she was already concerned that some in education had misunderstood her theory. These teachers were thinking “that’s a smart kid, they can learn; that’s not a smart kid, they can’t learn”, she says.

“Teachers often [think] students they consider clever have everything good, but they may not see that a [bright] student doesn’t like extra challenges or cannot take criticism or setbacks,” she adds. “So they are actually doing a disservice to the kids they consider clever by not challenging them and not teaching them how to use feedback.”

When she met TES, Professor Dweck was planning to use her week-long visit to the UK to advise teachers on translating her theory into everyday practice. “Part of it is teaching kids about the way their brains work,” she says, adding that teachers should explain to pupils that “when you do hard problems in maths you become smarter in maths”.

Teachers should also respond to students’ mistakes in a positive way because they are “opportunities for learning,” she says. “When adults react to kids’ mistakes as a big problem, a cause for anxiety, the kids don’t develop a growth mindset.” …”

Read the full story at Carol Dweck: ‘The whole idea of growth mindset is to say yes they can’ 


  • Nathan S. Gibson

    Nathan S. Gibson is an independent worker compliance business partner who provides expertise and creative solutions to enhance workforce flexibility and maintain compliance. He helps mitigate the risks associated with the misclassification of self-employed consultants, freelancers and independent contractors.

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6 thoughts on “Carol Dweck: ‘The whole idea of growth mindset is to say yes they can’

  1. This is a very interesting concept. I just wonder how many teachers worldwide have this same theory. It would be good if they could all get the same training. Students would benefit in astronomical ways.

  2. Developing a growth mindset is crucial to helping students excel, especially those who may not normally succeed. I think training students to understand that challenges help them become smarter is also very important.

  3. I’ve also noticed that high value is attached to self-marketing/confidence (which I believe has been directly related to levels of testosterone and hence masculinity) and good looks; neither of which is in a child’s control.

  4. I have a fixed mindset about history. I have never understood it, never liked it and I often find myself saying that, because I have so little knowledge I have nothing to pin new knowledge on. I also blame having had the dullest history teacher in the world back when I was at school. I know this is wrong and doesn’t tie in with my belief that Carol Dweck is right. The best way I can explain it is that it isn’t important enough to me YET to do anything about it. However, when I tackle the things that are important to me – learning to swim aged 40, running a marathon, writing a book (nearly there after 12 years!) to name but a few, I most certainly do have a growth mindset.

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