The “Growth Mindset”

“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” — Albert Einstein

Carol Dweck sat down with Sal Kahn to discuss the “Growth Mindset”. Carol explains the growth mindset is when someone believes their abilities can be developed. Contrast with a fixed mindset, where they think; “I just have a certain amount, and that’s it.”

Sal notes the idea of a growth mindset isn’t just a kind of feel good talk, there’s actually science behind it. He says your brain actually does grow stronger, neural connections actually form when you struggle.

In study after study, Carol says she’s seen kids who have a growth mindset get higher grades. If kids engage deeply and effectively in a learning process, their higher grades and test scores are a natural byproduct. She says kids who are praised for their intelligence don’t want a challenge afterwards. They don’t want to work hard on something. And if they have difficulty, that’s it. They tend to give up.

Carol says her studies show when parents praise the process their child engages in, the child’s hard work, strategies, ideas, and focus; the student learns these are the ingredients of success. If it get’s harder, they say, ‘I’ll just do these things.’

Sal says he hopes folks will spread the message of the growth mindset. Tell people their brain grows when they get a question wrong and they struggle. When you look at your errors say “Hey, that’s interesting!” and don’t be ashamed of making mistakes. If you view something as interesting, something to explore, you will physically make neural connections and your brain will actually grow. You can view their full comments here.