Mindset Book Study: Chapter 3 – The Truth About Ability and Accomplishment

As educators we often seek the knowledge and resources to become more successful and effective teachers. We set yearly goals for ourselves, our students, and our colleagues. We continually strive to be the best educators we can be to ensure that our students are meeting the learning goals/objectives. We thrive on commendation and recognition for our hard work from our administrators, colleagues, parents, and principals. However, have you ever thought about the impact that feedback and positive praise can have on our students’ mindset? Well… let’s talk about it.

As educators, we strive to praise our students for their accomplishments and their ability to learn. However, in chapter 3, Dweck discusses the real ingredients of achievement and what makes some people achieve less and some more. Take a moment and think about some common phrases you use when you praise your students…

I praise my students for even the smallest accomplishments. Praising one’s efforts communicates to others that they can grow their abilities, cultivate talents, and grow intelligence. However, prior to reading this chapter, I did not know that praise has an effect on our mindset.

What is fixed mindset and growth mindset?

Fixed Mindset – The belief that intelligence is innate and cannot be changed.
Growth Mindset – No matter who you are, you can become a great deal smarter. Students feel smart when they are working on something difficult and can make progress. A growth mindset encourages people to develop their minds fully by embracing challenges and avoiding limiting thoughts which might hold them back. 

Take a moment to watch this interesting study on the effect of praise on mindset:

Students are reticent to take risks and more often than not their performance declines. On the other hand, when students are praised for their effort, their performance improves and their effort and motivation increase. Take a moment and think about these questions:

  • If people have such potential to achieve, how can they gain faith in their potential?
  • How can we give them the confidence they need to go for it?
  • How about praising their ability in order to convey that they have what it takes?

Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset? 

Take a moment and think about where you are as an educator. Whether this is your first year of teaching or your twenty-fifth year of teaching… Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? Dweck states, “The growth mindset lets people use and develop their mind fully. Their heads are not filled with limiting thoughts, a fragile sense of belonging, and a belief that other people can define them. I believe this is what we want for our students and for ourselves. Give your students the gift of growth mindset! I want to leave you with a question: How can we create an environment that teaches the growth mindset to adults and/or students? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Read these other blog posts about chapter 3: 

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3 Comment

  1. Reply
    Mrs. Johnson
    August 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    I loved this book! I may just have to read it again soon!

  2. Reply
    Kristi Moses
    August 27, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    I wish i wouldve got in on this book study. Looks like a good one.

  3. Reply
    Mrs. Jordan
    August 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    We are doing this book study this year at school. I think that reading back to this study will be so helpful!

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