Talking Mindset

Mindset wordleIn the last few weeks I’ve  had the opportunity to meet with  several dozen faculty and parents to discuss the tenets of Dr. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.  The central premise of the book advocates for fostering and developing in our children and in ourselves a growth mindset versus getting mired in the trappings of a fixed mindset.  A person with a growth mindset believes that intelligence, in all its different manifestations is not fixed but rather is malleable and can be improved with effort, whereas those with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is fixed at birth and there’s not much we can do to change it.  While her thesis is quite simple, the implications are quite profound.

As a faculty, we spent our time identifying the things  that we do that promote one  type of mindset versus the other.  It was helpful to look critically at our practices that inherently promote more of a fixed mindset and then coming up with strategies to adjust our policies and procedures so that they foster a more growth minded approach.  In our parent groups, we spent the bulk of the time discussing all the different applications of applying a growth mindset and the potential for improving our children’s experience. The situations are endless, from sports, to grades, to practicing the piano, adjusting what and how we talk with our children both explicitly and implicitly plays a big part in helping our children adopt a more growth minded approach to learning and life.  While we nearly all agreed that adopting a growth mindset is the ideal, we recognized that there are challenges to putting this approach into practice consistently, from the way that we were raised to the societal structures and dispositions we have inherited.

While reading the book was certainly illuminating, what was significantly more helpful was getting to share and hear from one another our insights and the creative strategies we have successfully and unsuccessfully tested out.  It was invaluable to hear from one another and to recognize that we are not alone in the struggles and challenges we face to improve ourselves and raise our children.

For those that were not able to join us, the following article highlighting an interview with Dr. Dweck provides a good summary of her book.

N.B. – the visual image used for this post is a word cloud generated from the notes taken during the faculty discussion of the book.



  1. CSH Guest Blog: Three Questions for the Growth Mindset | Cor Unum - January 17, 2013

    […] and education at Harvard, and especially out of the work of Stanford professor Carol Dweck. Jaime Dominguez and his colleagues at Stuart Hall for Boys have already spent some time this year ta…, and CSH Dean Rachel Simpson and I frequently refer to Dr. Dweck when we strategize about how to […]

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