Growth vs Fixed Mindsets

In my new role of Principal at William Carey, there have been many firsts for me over the past couple months, and here’s another one.  While blogging has been around for a long time, I must claim this is my first venture into the blogosphere.

This blog will continue to allow the school community to catch up on highlights and other key events in the school’s life.  Plus, I am also hoping that it will be a space in which I can share some thoughts on various aspects of school education, both at William Carey and further afield.

The start of the year for staff and students has been a very busy one, and part of this is reflecting on how we approach our work and learning.

Instinctively we desire to do well at whatever we try. However, often we can fear failure and find ourselves choosing to give up or avoid situations or work, when uncertain of the chances of success.

There are some obvious situations where it is prudent to avoid failure. For example an attempt at a death defying stunt, is best avoided until the appropriate skill level has been developed. However, a fear of failure can often prevent people, students especially, from making a start or continuing to keep trying. This is the product of a way of thinking (or mindset) that is fixed and limiting.

Alternative to a fixed mindset, is a growth mindset. A growth mindset focuses on improvement rather than on gifts or talents. Intelligence is just a starting point. So from the perspective of a growth mindset, all our students (and all of us) are capable of improvement.

To realise improvement, however, it does take resilience, hard work and perseverance.  As indicated in the picture above, success usually comes about after a series of trials or setbacks.  To persevere in the face of setbacks, our students must know what they are aiming for. Developing clear and realistic goals is vital in maintaining motivation when success does not come easily.

It is for this reason that both teaching staff and students have taken some time at the start of the year to reflect on goal setting. Staff have set goals with a focus on developing in areas of their professional lives, while students have been encouraged to set personal or class learning goals.


So what kind of mindset do you have?


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