Growth Mindset for Staff

Carol Dweck is a psychologist who researches achievement and success. Her major finding is that those who have a “growth mindset”—those who believe that their abilities are developed through dedication and hard work, not innate talent—are more likely to be resilient when things get tough and persevere to achieve goals (Dweck, 2006).

Many teachers work to teach their students to have a growth mindset by:

  • Celebrating mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Praising effort and hard work rather than praising students for being “smart.”
  • Emphasizing that intelligence is malleable, and the brain is like a muscle that can get bigger and stronger through mental exercise.

School staff can apply this concept to themselves and their peers to help create a culture of growth and improvement throughout the school community. The activity below can be used during staff or grade-level team meetings to help staff begin a discussion about growth mindset.

Citations can be found in the School Guide Bibliography.

Activity: Growth Mindset for Staff

Activity courtesy of Chicago Public Schools

Materials: Summary “Carol Dweck on Fixed and Growth Mindset Thinking Among Teachers” by Kim Marshall (one per participant), copies of the Mindset Test.

  1. Allow participants time to read the article linked above. Then give participants about 10 minutes to take the Mindset Test.
  2. Ask the participants to react to the article in small groups of three to five. Consider using these guiding questions:
    • What was one thing that resonated with you?
    • Did this article motivate you to try something new?
    • What does the growth mindset look like at our school?
    • What would it take for us to adopt a growth mindset schoolwide?
  3. Have all staff members draft and share a goal for improvement for the school year and plan to check in with each other as the year progresses.
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