Dr. Carol Dweck has studied this area extensively. A fixed mindset is where a person is very pessimistic. They believe that their personal qualities are unalterable and negative experiences reveal their inherent limitations. The growth mindset is one where people assume that effort and dedication will shape achievement and failure is just an obstacle to overcome.
To support the growth mindset, we should praise effort and limit criticism of our students. Also, more importantly, we should encourage children's pursuit of challenges and focus proactively and what they can do right now to take on those challenges.
I think even as teachers we sometimes fall prey to the fixed mindset. We might look at a student and feel as if nothing is going to change, that today will be just like yesterday. But we need to remember to use our concerted effort and come up with fresh, creative solutions to overcome the present-day obstacle. As Albert Einstein once said: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.