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4 Common Misconceptions About Growth Mindset

Teaching Math with a Growth Mindset in SchoolHow many times in your life have you been certain that you had a concrete understanding of a concept, only to find out later – and usually at a critical moment – that you were not quite there yet?

The sudden awareness of your misconception can be one of those cathartic “ah-hah” moments. However, it can also be a crushing blow if you have already put a significant amount of time, energy, and resources into a project, relationship, or initiative.

Don’t let misunderstandings about growth mindset sabotage your efforts at creating real and lasting positive changes in your school’s culture.

1. It's all about the effort.

While effort is very important, learning involves trying new strategies and seeking input from others.

2. Ban the fixed mindset.

We are all a mix of fixed and growth mindsets. Your goal is to encourage a mindset of growth in your school, but inevitably students, teachers, and administrators will slip into old habits. Banning the fixed mindset only stigmatizes people and slows them as they grow.

3. Praise everyone, no matter what.

Building towards a growth mindset involves constructive feedback – whether you’re talking to a student, a teacher, or an administrator. Being encouraging of effort and talking openly about mistakes is crucial.

4. Growth mindset ideas only apply to the classroom.

While growth mindset is worth striving for in the classroom, it has plenty of relevance in other areas, too, including pedagogy, professional development, leadership training, and even personality.

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