The Theory of Growth Mindset

February 2018

In educational circles, it is very difficult to talk about Growth Mindset without addressing the topic of “grit.” Any discussion of grit must address how we deal with successes and failures with the ultimate goal of having students be cognizant of their learning processes. In “Can Grit Be Taught”, Kelly Carroll asserts that when students are invested in their learning processes, their motivation increases. “Grit is not acquired when students are just seeking short term rewards.” Grades are short term rewards and do not benefit the actual learning whereas long term goals encourage deeper learning. Many parents would say that getting good grades is the stepping stone to reaching those long term goals but in actuality, as we’ve learned through our growth mindset research, focusing on the learning will result in the by-product of getting good grades. Students who persevere through difficult subjects, teachers, challenges and continue to work toward that final goal are displaying grit in their daily countenance. Determining and setting those long term, motivating kinds of goals require one to examine the “how” and the “why” in reaching those goals. I encourage parents to have the “how and why” discussions with their students during the year and not simply when report cards are distributed. Students will become grittier when they accept mistakes and failures and learn from them. 



Growth Mindset & AHA

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