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Nurturing a Growth Mindset

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A growth mindset is a phrase that was coined by Dr Carol Dweck and her research colleagues at Stanford University. Put simply, a growth mindset is the understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed. Dweck and her team of researchers observed how thousands of children responding to failure, noticing that some students rebounded while others seemed devastated by the simplest setback giving rise to the terms growth and fixed mindset. Research has shown that students with a growth mindset recognize that it is time and effort that leads to improvement and achievement. To find out more about Dr Carol Dweck’s research, please visit

At the Jefferson campus, the idea of a growth mindset was explored through a series of assemblies. The students learned that success is like an iceberg, in that people only tend to see the successful finished product and not the larger part that is under the surface, including the mistakes, failure, dedication and commitment. The students then went on to write on a large, shared piece of paper about something they have not learned yet, before their peers went on to write words of encouragement for them. Literature was used to support the younger students by reading Todd Parr’s book, It’s Okay to Make Mistakes. In it, students learned that it is okay to get upset and that it is okay to get mixed up as we have friends to cheer us up and help us. At the end of the assembly the students took a gallery walk around the auditorium to read different phrases and sentences related to mistakes and mistake making. The clear favorite was a quote from Albert Einstein, who said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” The students are excited about trying lots of new things over the course of the 2017 - 2018 school year.