“The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive.”
- Carol Dweck, “Mindset”
Success in school depends on a student’s attitude more than intelligence or “natural ability”. When we meet students who have decided that they’re “not smart,” “bad at school” or have totally given up, we see them as perfect candidates for our Mindset curriculum.
This tutoring is based on Carol Dweck’s book Mindset. Through her research, Dweck identified two different attitudes or “mindsets”: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. Students with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence and talent are permanent qualities so change is impossible and therefore not worth the effort. On the other hand, students with a growth mindset believe that with hard work and consistent effort, improvement is possible!
Whenever we encounter students who:
- Have decided they’re “not a math person” or make statements like, “I’m just bad at English!”
- Are perfectionists and fear mistakes
- Avoid challenges or quit when things get difficult
We use our Mindset lessons to work with them on:
- Identifying and labeling the negative thoughts which hold them back
- Praising process, rather than outcome (“You worked so hard on those math problems!” is a more productive compliment than “you’re a math genius!”)
- Framing failures as opportunities
- Optimizing for ownership
A fixed mindset can also have a surprisingly adverse effect on students who were labeled “gifted” or “exceptional.” To learn more about the adverse effects of positive praise, check out Amanda Vogel’s article Why Doesn’t My Smart Child Try Harder?