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Encouraging a Growth Mindset

Mindset describes the way people view ability and talent.  In her research and work on the mindset of psychological traits, Psychologist Carol S. Dweck identified 2 types of mindsets, fixed and growth. People with a fixed mindset believed their intelligence and abilities cannot be altered in a meaningful way.  In a growth mindset, people believe that their basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.   An extremely important finding of Dweck’s research is that mindsets can be changed!

Click here to watch her popular 10 minute TED talk The Power of Believing that You Can Improve.

Mentors are in a position to promote and encourage a growth mindset in their mentee.  A great way to begin is to share the relevant principles on mindset in your own life. Think about how you approach challenges, how are you emphasizing effort and continuous improvement?  By Identifying a few stories that demonstrate how you overcame obstacles and kept on trying, you are modeling the power of yet!

There are abundant resources on the internet we can use to promote growth mindset. Remember to take into account your mentee’s learning style and it helps to plan ahead!  Below are a few to get you started.

  • When a student learns how the brain makes new neural connections in response to learning, they see why effort and “try, try again” related practices lead to achievement.  
    • To watch a 5 minute video made for elementary kids, explaining about the brain and growth mindset, click here.
    • To watch a 5 minute video made for teens, click here. 
  • With a growth mindset, a person has a willingness to confront challenges, a passion for learning and views failure as a springboard for growth.
  • Big Life Journal
    • This is a resource mentors can purchase online to have handouts and activities at the ready to share with their mentee.  You can purchase it online or sign up for their weekly “freebie” activity.
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