34 Develop a Growth Mindset

Everyone encounters setbacks from time to time. Maybe you’re taking a course that you find difficult, or maybe you received a grade lower than you expected. When this happens, you have a choice in how you respond.

Responding to setbacks

Some people might respond to setbacks by believing that they can’t complete the course successfully or by blaming others for their setback. These responses are called a fixed mindset.

A better way to respond to setbacks and negative feedback is with a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the ability to learn from a setback or experience. Individuals with a growth mindset are better able to recover from setbacks and to go on to achieve greater success.

Growth Mindset verses Fixed mindset

Growth mindset Fixed mindset
  • Intelligence is not fixed, but it can be developed over time
  • Difficult tasks are worth pursuing
  • Feedback, even if it offers correction, is beneficial to support future growth
  • Intelligence is fixed, and cannot be changed
  • If a task is difficult, it should be discontinued
  • Negative feedback should be avoided or minimized

How a Growth Mindset can support learning

The growth mindset principle encourages continuous learning. Adult brains continue to develop through learning and doing challenging things. This results in the brain building additional neural connections. In other words, by learning difficult material, you can actually become smarter.

If you believe that you’re able to succeed by working hard and using supports, you’re more able to push through difficult moments in learning, and continue to make progress towards your learning goals. [1] [2]

Try it!

Try it!

  1. Paunesku, D., Walton, G. M., Romero, C., Smith, E. N., Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological Science, 26(6), 784–793. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615571017
  2. Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), 302–314. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2012.722805


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