Mindsets: Fixed or Growth?
Carol S. Dweck’s Brainology: Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn will change the way you think about learning. Dweck’s “Brainology” article emphasizes the mindsets of kids and how they can either be hardworking adults when they grow up or become lazy and feel the need to avoid working harder when faced with an obstacle. Too much encouragement of excellent achievements by parents can promote fear of failure for the children as they grow up. Dweck tackles both the positives and the negatives of student motivation and provides the right tips to understanding the effects of learning among children.
A Growth Mindset is when students believe they can become much smarter and achieve their full academic potential by learning more. Through numerous studies Dweck was able to determine exactly how this mindset works. Students whose parents told them to put more effort into by their studies develop a Growth Mindset at a very young age. These students believe that through hard work and adequate time on assignments they can do as well as possible and achieve higher grades in school. Dweck studied students with Growth Mindsets for two years. In this span, she saw that from 7th grade to 9th grade as classes became more difficult, the students with Growth Mindsets saw every challenging problem as a way to improve in order to achieve good grades in school. Kids who are given a proper amount of encouragement and told to try hard to excel at anything they are faced with at a young age will carry that attitude onto High School, College and adulthood.
Fixed Mindsets are the exact opposite of Growth Mindsets. Children with Fixed Mindsets believe that they will only be able to achieve what they are encouraged to. They don’t feel the need to work hard because they are afraid of failing. As Dweck later mentioned in her article, she also studied students with Fixed Mindsets for two years. Through her research and interviews, Dweck was able to determine that students with Fixed Mindsets began to feel overwhelmed and lacked interest in their subjects. A few students said that when they come across a challenging problem in their math class they often are hesitant to raise their hand and ask for help. These students sometimes feel like there are dumb and quickly loose interest and focus on their work in class. Some students said that they would rather cheat than attempt to ask for help on a difficult assignment or test.
Most parents tend to encourage or reward their children on their work with hopes of boosting their self-esteem and helping build confidence. In doing this, parents succeeded at boosting their child’s level of self-esteem. However they failed to encourage them to continue to study and work hard. This caused children to fail to work harder when faced with challenges. Parents should emphasize that they would become smarter and even more talented if they worked harder on subjects that bothered them. Though many parents may have the right idea when it comes to their child’s academic development, it is important that they raise their children with an equivalent amount Growth and Fixed Mindset. This way parents can give children praise and also teach them the importance of learning to face and accept challenges.
Are children better off with a Fixed Mindset or a Growth Mindset? Students that are praised for their intelligence develop Fixed Mindsets. Students who are praised for their effort develop Growth Mindsets. Both groups of students excel at the exact same level until they reach a certain point in school. When Fixed Mindset children reach the point where they stop receiving praise from their parents or teachers, they are simply expected to complete their work and produce good grades in school. Growth Mindset students are better prepared to tackle the challenges of increasingly hard coursework at a young age by viewing challenges as a fun opportunity to realize the joy of understanding what they don’t know. Their demeanor towards academics increases and they can eliminate negative tension towards difficult assignments. This allows them to view challenges as fun and they can handle the pressure they are faced with.
In Conclusion, the mindsets of students are essential to their growth in society. At a young age, children are taught to either work to succeed and excel into adulthood, or to feel good anytime they do something right. Carol S. Dweck’s Brainology: Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn definitely changes the way you think about children today. Fifteen percent of parents polled by Dweck encouraged their children to put more effort into their studies and strive to overcome any obstacles they struggle with in school.
This number has not yet increased to the point where all children, teens, and young adults will want to put forth as much effort in school as possible in order to achieve great test scores and better jobs. Hopefully we can began to see the rate of children with Growth Mindsets increase and also equally encourage Fixed Minded students to work harder as well.