The Mindset book club Steve Grenham is running for Dale St. staff has been a great opportunity for me to keep the importance of presenting challenges as growth opportunities, top of mind. Donna Olson is running a similar book club at Wheelock. Carol Dweck wrote Mindset following years of research on how people cope with challenges and failures. Through her research she noticed people fell into two major groupings “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset”. Those with fixed mindsets perceive their abilities to be unchanging. Those with growth mindsets perceive their abilities to be malleable. Dweck’s research provides compelling evidence for the importance of a growth mindset for managing setbacks in a resilient manner.
The book club has provided a great opportunity to problem solve with colleagues about ways of further promoting a growth mindset in our students. For instance, one of the hallmarks Dweck identifies of a fixed mindset, is the belief that the truly intelligent/talented succeed with little effort. Effort therefore is something to hide or avoid. Clearly this is a perilous road to go down. Given the developmental trajectory towards abstract thought that takes place with fourth and fifth graders, it is a crucial time to support students’ understanding of ways in which they can impact their own success rather than fall prey to detrimental ego-protective behaviors. I recommend Mindset for educators and parents alike, as a resource to promote such an outcome.