Hey SAIT students,

Welcome to the eighth Learning From Home 101 blog post (the previous one was Growing From Feedback). In this post, we’ve written about growth mindset – what it is, why it’s important, how you can have one, and more!

 

What is a growth mindset?

To be completely honest with you, a growth mindset isn’t the easiest thing to define. It’s more of a culture or philosophy; a way of thinking about learning and managing it. Having a growth mindset means believing your abilities, skills, and qualities can be developed and improved on with consistent hard work (a.k.a. practice). Additionally, it’s believing that brains and talents are just mere starting points to grow from, and not the be-all and end-all of all situations.

 

Why is it important to have a growth mindset?

Embodying a growth mindset creates a love of learning, as well as a resilience that is essential for success. Now whilst we said earlier that a growth mindset isn’t easily defined, there are numerous studies that support the idea that resilient people and those who genuinely enjoy learning, are far more likely to be successful at something. Additionally, the alternative to growth mindset — the fixed mindset — seems so negative and almost ‘anti-educational’ that growth mindset should be a default.

 

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

Incase you’re not sure what a fixed or growth mindset looks like, here are a few examples of them side-by-side:

  • I didn’t understand poetry when I studied it in high school, so I’m probably going to fail the poetry assignments in my English course now. vs. I didn’t understand poetry when I studied it in high school, but this is a new year with a new teacher, so things might be better this time!
  • I have a C in biology right now because I’m not good at anything when it comes to science! I’m probably going to end up with C for my final grade. vs. I have a C in biology right now, probably because I don’t spend as much time on it as my other subjects. I’m sure if I tried a little harder I’d be able to get my grade up!
  • I’ve always been bad at math, so if tomorrow’s Trivia has any math in it, I’m going to suck! vs. Math isn’t my strongest subject, but that’s just the case for now.

 

Yikes, I think I have a fixed mindset! What can I do about it?

Fake it till you make it! Believe it or not, forcing and/or imitating things like confidence and a certain way of thinking leads to those things becoming a natural habit over time. If you’ve ever tried something like a gratitude journal, then you’ll know this practice of faking it until you make it can be true! Taking the gratitude journal for example… the first time that you try to list 3 things that you’re grateful for, you struggle to list anything out of the obvious such as family, friends, and a beloved pet. However, journaling what you’re grateful for over time, it becomes easier and easier, until you catch yourself being grateful for strange little things like how you called the bank today and were only on hold for 2 minutes instead of the usual 30 minutes.

 

Where can I learn more about a growth mindset?

We know an absolutely fantastic TED talk by Carol Dweck on the topic. Dweck researches growth mindset, and in her talk, “she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet?” You can listen to and/or watch it here!