Watch the 10-minute TEDx Talk, “The Power of Belief – Mindset and Success”, where Eduardo Briceño uses social science research and real-life examples to articulate how mindset is the key to success and identifies simple actions that students can take to cultivate a growth mindset.
After watching the video, engage in a 15-minute class discussion based on the following prompts:
- Earlier in the school year, we talked about the learner and the judger path. Which path represents a growth mindset, and which one represents a fixed mindset? How do you know? Can you use similar techniques to shift mindsets as those which you identified to switch pathways?
- Think about the last time you had to work really hard to accomplish something. What kind of things were you telling yourself? Based on this, what would you say your current perspective is on effort?
- Think about the last time you made a mistake, didn’t do as well as you would have liked, or faced setbacks. How did you respond to the situation? What kind of things were you telling yourself? Did your mindset affect your ability to learn from the experience?
- Think about an area of your life where you currently have a fixed mindset. Would your experience change if you adopted a growth mindset? Would the outcome be different? How can you move towards a growth mindset for that area of your life?
- Eduardo talks about the difference between being praised for your ability versus your effort. Think about a time when someone gave feedback focused on your traits, such as “You are so smart”, “You are so talented”, or “You are so beautiful/handsome”, as well as a time when someone gave feedback focused on your process, such as “You worked really hard”, “Your effort paid off”, or “You studied really well”. Did these two types of feedback make you think, feel or behave differently? How did the feedback you received influence your motivation? When was the last time you gave someone else feedback (praise or criticism)? Was it focused on the person or their process? Why might person-praise drive a fixed mindset and process praise drive a growth mindset?
- How do the principles of person versus process feedback relate to self-talk? Do you think that talking to yourself in a more process-oriented manner would help you cultivate a growth mindset? Why or why not? How can you make this change?
After the discussion, teach students about the four steps to shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset:
- Learn to hear your fixed mindset voices.
- Recognize you have a choice.
- Talk back to the fixed mindset with a growth mindset.
- Take the growth mindset action.
Then, use examples of students’ fixed mindset phrases to work through these steps together. After a couple of examples, students should be able to complete the four steps on their own. As an option, give students five minutes to complete the “Fix the Fixed Mindset” worksheet to further practice talking back to the fixed mindset with a growth mindset (step 3).
Fix the Fixed Mindset worksheet available in download section.
Finally, hand each student a copy of the Growth Mindset BINGO game. Explain that this Bingo game suggests 25 different things that students can do to adopt a growth mindset. Tell students that, over the next week, they will select one task/activity to complete each day and, at the end of the day, they will briefly reflect on whether or not they were able to successfully complete the activity. If students completed the activity, the can colour in the corresponding BINGO box. The goal is for students to do at least five different activities, such that they complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line across the BINGO board. Support students’ success by giving them two-minutes at the beginning of every day to select which growth mindset activity they will do that day (it’s students’ responsibility to complete the activities on their own time).
Growth mindset bingo available in download section.
Is it possible to have a growth mindset for one area of my life and a fixed mindset for another area?
Yes! Nobody has a growth mindset in everything, all the time. Everyone is a mixture of both fixed and growth mindset. In one area of your life, such as sports, you can have a predominantly growth mindset, but in another area of your life, such as Math, you can have a more fixed mindset. Not only this but even though you tend to have a growth mindset when you’re playing sports, there can still be things (ex. something really challenging or a person who is much better than you) that trigger a fixed mindset. It’s important for you to understand which mindset is predominant for different areas of your life and to identify fixed-mindset triggers. This helps you recognize when you are falling into a fixed mindset and sets you up for success in terms of “fixing” your fixed mindset.
Is it possible for a fixed mindset to be good?
That’s a really good question! When it comes to skill areas and traits, a growth mindset is typically more advantageous. The only two areas where a fixed mindset is considered “better” than a growth mindset are sexual orientation and aging. In both of these areas, a fixed mindset is considered better than a growth mindset because it’s associated with a greater sense of self-acceptance.
Does having a growth mindset mean that I always need to work harder and do better?
No, this is something that a lot of people misunderstand. Just because you can learn and improve something by investing effort into it, doesn’t mean you have to (or should). Growth mindset involves focusing your effort on the things you want to do, and which will move you closer to your long-term goals. Throughout your life, you will need to set priorities about where to invest your time, effort, and energy. You will also have to learn to say “No, I don’t want to do that” or to recognize when your effort is not “worth” the return. If you don’t focus your efforts on things that are important to you and always try to work harder at everything you do, then you will eventually burn out.