Growth Mindset Header. Photo shows small plants growing in soil

Growth mindset is a term coined by Dr. Carol Dweck that describes peoples' beliefs about their ability to learn, develop, succeed, or fail. In her research, she found that individuals have two types of mindsets - fixed and growth mindset. People with fixed mindset believe their ability is fixed - it's what they are born with and it cannot change. If they fail, they believe it is because their abilities are limited. People with growth mindset, however, believe their abilities can change as they learn, practice, and put in effort. Growth mindset sees challenges as normal and expected in the process of learning and trying new things. If a concept is not mastered right away, that is seen as an opportunity to provide feedback for improvement.

Developing a growth mindset is important to developing an inclusive environment because it can increase student engagement, but also decrease identity threat (you will learn more about in the Inclusive Climate module).

Quick tips on cultivating a growth mindset in your classroom:

  • Use language that communicates the ability for your students to grow. If you are teaching online, you can do this through individual messages or annoucements
  • Communicate pre-requiste and necessary skills by using language that indiciates that the student is learning - they may need to review past material, talk with peers/TAs/instructors to grasp the material fully
  • Share resources, such as vidoes (ex: Khan Academy), study groups via the University, office hours, etc. that can further the student engage with the material
  • Use entry and exit tickets to understand what students are understanding and/or need more instruction and resources
  • Use exam wrappers to help students figure out the areas they need help or are struggling with, pre and post exam.

To learn more about growth mindset, play the video below.