I’ve been mulling over the idea of the growth mindset these past few days and its implication to my learning, so I thought I’d share some new understandings.
For those unfamiliar with the growth mindset idea, it is a personal view that intelligence is not fixed. Instead it can be developed over time by being exposed to a variety of experiences and strategies and also through feedback and reflection.
Proposed and developed by Carol Dweck, the concept has been researched and it has been shown that growth-mindset students outperform those that believe intelligence capacity is more stable and fixed.
Dweck also found that students with a growth mindset enjoyed the learning process more, worked harder, tried a greater variety of strategies and were more resilient when faced with learning challenges. In addition, they were more open to receiving honest feedback, sought to build skills and were more receptive to learn from people of varying educational level.
Sounds great right!?
Of course it does! And I have strived to develop my growth mindset for over two years now.
But I’ve been finding that it is not a simple as just having one or the other and certainly not as simple as displacing one with the other, which is something I believe I was striving for. Rather there is a complex interplay between them.
For example, I strive to learn and grow by assimilating new ideas (growth mindset). But when faced with new issue I over-read, over-research and solicit too many opinions before taking action. Growth is occurring, but growth from information much more than growth from action.
Like I’ve said though, growth and fixed mindsets exists side-by-side. And this over assimilation of information I think comes from a fear of making a mistake. In other words, not fully understanding the growth opportunities that can occur through trial and error in action (fixed mindset).
Complex?! Yes, and probably over-analysed!
But my experiences illustrate my shift in mindset understanding. Rather than one mindset being more prevalent than the other at a particular time, both mindsets actually exist in tandem with each another.