Why is there still so much buzz about Growth Mindset?

By Savanna Flakes

Savanna Flakes, EdS, has taught a variety of subjects, grades and learners in Washington D.C., Pittsburgh and Virginia. Savanna is an education consultant specializing in inclusion, special education, and differentiated instruction for literacy and math. Her prior instructional leadership roles include Manager of Professional Learning, Master Educator, technology integration specialist and inclusion instructional specialist, coaching administrators and teachers on effective inclusive and instructional practices. Savanna has served as a professor in the American University School of Education and Health, and she presents nationally on topics such as differentiation, co-teaching, universal design for learning, and inclusion. As an educational consultant, Savanna works with school communities to build teacher leaders and effective instructional practices for students with exceptionalities. For more information, visit Inclusion For a Better Future.


Why is there still so much buzz about Growth Mindset?

The answer is simple. Without a Growth Mindset - us and our students will fail.  Helping our students to achieve their potential and motivating them to understand effective effort, persistence, and working hard to reach their goals is the central aim of our teaching. The research is abundantly clear, teacher’s expectations and mindset can set students up for success or failure and students who have a fixed mindset shut down more quickly and have self-defeating behaviors in the face of learning challenges. Growth Mindset isn’t a tool or a paradigm or a packaged prescriptive method, it is a philosophy.  Growth Mindset describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence (Carol Dweck).

To concretely demonstrate we care about Growth Mindset and want to build resilient and expert learners that are determined to be successful we must include Growth Mindset in our planning. To support students in the transition of fixed mindset to growth mindset, we need to dedicate instructional time to teach students about Mindset and why it matters. What does malleable intelligence mean? What does a GM look and sound like?  Share this graphic with students, have conversations and role plays, let students assess their mindset and create action steps and goals, and instruct students to create their own personal anchor charts that they revisit throughout the school year. Here are some of my favorite Growth Mindset resources:


Videos on Mindset and Effort-

  1. What is it?

  2. Power of Yet

  3. Michael Jordan’s Successful Failure

Lesson Planning Resource-

  1. https://www.mindsetkit.org/

  2. https://www.edutopia.org/article/growth-mindset-resources

  3. https://www.mindsetworks.com/science

  4. The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher's Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve


Concluding Words: A Growth Mindset is a journey, not a one-stop fix or over-night transition, start at the beginning of the school year and revisit frequently. If you build a class community that is devoted to possessing a Growth Mindset, the sky is only a viewpoint.