Thursday 03 September 2015

Growth Mindset Community Forum

To assist Ivanhoe Grammar School on our journey of embedding Positive Psychology in all aspects of school life, we are fortunate to have the ongoing assistance of Professor Lea Waters, PhD. On Tuesday 2 September we had the pleasure once again to have Associate Professor Lea Waters back at Ivanhoe Grammar School to present the topic of Growth Mindset.

A mindset is a collection of beliefs, an implicit view or a way of thinking that determines one’s behaviours, outlook and attitude.

In the presentation, Professor Waters explained that a child’s mindset makes an enormous difference in their ability to set goals and put forth the effort required to meet them. Mindsets are shaped by parents and by the type of praise a child or teenager receives. Professor Waters explored and provided parents with information and strategies that could assist their children to develop growth mindsets through process praise. Throughout her presentation, Lea used many personal examples to highlight the difference between fixed and growth mindset.

She explained that when students have a fixed mindset, they believe their intelligence is unchangeable and they think that that they are born with a certain amount and that’s it. This mindset sometimes makes them scared to try because they might fail and therefore this attitude impedes their learning. When students have a growth mindset, they understand that intelligence can be developed. Students focus on improvement instead of worrying about how smart they are and they work hard to learn more.

Based on the research by Stanford University’s Dr Carol Dweck, she highlighted that we know that students who learn this mindset show greater motivation, effort and persistence and become more resilient. The development of a growth mindset is about learning how to fail well, the language to get there, how to get over it, cope with it and move on to succeed. A growth mindset can be best summed up and understood by the phrase, ‘I can’t do that…YET!’

Everyone may not have the same intelligence but everyone can get smarter. In order to help students go from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, we need to praise their effort and not just the outcome, place value on effort and practice.

Professor Waters explained that you might have a fixed mindset about some things in your life and a growth mindset about others. It is important to:

  • Learn to identify your fixed mindset voice (I can’t… I will never… I am terrible…)
  • Recognise the choice between interpreting challenges with a fixed or growth mindset.
  • Cultivate a growth mindset voice (What do I need to do to improve? I can do it!)
  • Mindsets can change; it is possible to develop a growth mindset if you want to

Professor Lea Waters Growth Mindset presentation was engaging and informative and the School was delighted that she was able to reconnect with the Ivanhoe community sharing her expertise, knowledge and passion for Positive Education.

If you would like more information about Growth Mindset and Positive Psychology, head to the following websites.