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2. Set

In this activity…

Students define growth mindset and consider how mindset influences the way they approach challenges and obstacles, think about effort, receive and apply criticism, as well as how they think about the success of others. Students then practice distinguishing between growth and fixed mindset.


Start by asking students to recall what they learned from the previous lesson on neuroplasticity. Namely, that the way they think, feel or act affects the structure of their brains and that they can choose to build a “better” brain by consciously changing the way they think or behave. Tell students that patterns of thought form a system of beliefs that affect the way they see the world. In other words, patterns of thought influence their mindset. Introduce students to the idea of growth and fixed mindset, and talk about how students’ mindsets affect the way they approach challenges and obstacles, the way they think about effort, their ability to receive and apply feedback, and the way they think about other people’s success. Hopefully, students will recognize that, compared to a fixed mindset, a growth mindset is more conducive to learning and wellbeing.

Next, ask students if they think it's possible to shift mindsets. Based on what they already know about neuroplasticity, students might be able to draw their own conclusions about the ability to shift mindset. Let students know that shifting mindsets is a process of rewiring the brain that involves strengthening and weakening neural pathways associated with growth and fixed mindsets, respectively. Point out that the ability to distinguish between a growth and fixed mindset, is a prerequisite for being able to shift mindset. For each statement in the slide deck, ask students to identify whether it’s representative of a growth or fixed mindset and, for fixed mindset statements, ask students to create a new, growth mindset statement.  

To end this activity, ask students to identify an area of their life where they have a fixed mindset and an area where they have a growth mindset. Then, for the next five minutes, students will share their examples with a partner and, for both the growth and fixed mindset, explain how their mindset affected the outcome or experience. If there is time, encourage students to help each other develop a growth mindset for the area of their life where they currently have a fixed mindset.