Halstrom Blog Post

Growth Mindset - Developing Your Ability to Achieve Success

Growth Mindset - Developing Your Ability to Achieve Success

Many students vie to be called smart, but is that a good thing? If you are so smart in a subject that you don't try to learn more, can that be called ignorant? That's the argument on the growth and fixed mindsets, but to understand the argument, what are growth and fixed mindsets?

Carol Dweck, who received her Ph.D. from Yale and is a Psychology Professor at Stanford, postulated that a fixed mindset is one in which a person believes that their success is based on innate ability and that people have a certain fixed amount of intelligence, and nothing can alter that. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is one in which a person thinks that people can change their intelligence level depending on effort, good teaching and persistence.

Dweck explains that those with a fixed mindset seek only to look smart or not unintelligent, but growth mindset people seek only knowledge. They're ready to overcome the next obstacle and if they fail, learn from it. The growth is like a stone in a stream. It faces the raging currents and allows them to shape it. Whereas the fixed is the land rock. It doesn't ever wish to be in that stream. It thinks that if it were in that current, it would temper the force as the stone does, all the while never rolling into the waters for fear of being swept away.

Fiske Elementary school in Lexington, Massachusetts implemented growth mindset, in which effort and learning from mistakes was valued over results. In 2013 and 2014, the students' math MCAS scores surged. In 2013, they rose by a 75.5 percentile and the same occurred in 2014 in the fourth and fifth grade. Among 39 schools, Fiske received commendation from the state for "high achievement, high progress or narrowing the proficiency gap." The school now has growth mindset as its standard.

"I am still learning," said Michelangelo. "Learning never exhausts the mind," said Da Vinci. And Einstein said, "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." Surely these three men had great base intellect, but many have had that throughout history. They learned that continuous learning is the only way to truly gain knowledge. And a truth that you come to know as you acquire it is that you'll never know enough and sometimes nothing. "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing," said Socrates. This exemplifies the earlier point that as you learn, you realize that there is no ending and that you know almost nothing. Understanding this then pushes your fervor for more knowledge and more growth. Therefore, only death ends the learning of one with a growth mindset. Those with growth mindsets are more likely to succeed because they're more willing to overcome adversity, and even if they don't, they gain from the experience and move on to the next obstacle.

At Halstrom Academy, we promote a healthy growth mindset. We seek to have our students learn and extend their efforts beyond what they think is academically possible all while providing a nurturing environment where they can learn from their mistakes and succeed. We see our students progress over time and our teachers are there to provide academic rigor, support, and encouragement for our students as they move through their educational journey. If you wish to tour a Halstrom Academy campus or have questions, please contact us.