According to psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two basic mindsets: fixed and growth. In a growth mindset, individuals understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, good strategies and persistence. They don’t necessarily think anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can improve their abilities if they put enough effort into it. In contrast, individuals with a fixed mindset believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits or innate gifts carved in stone. They possess a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. Dweck summarizes: “My research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.” (from her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006)).
The good news is: mindsets are changeable, meaning that everybody can adopt a growth mindset. Especially teaching can play a pivotal role in forming and changing mindsets.
Further information: If you are interested in more information about mindset theory, please read the article “Carol Dweck: A Summary of Growth and Fixed Mindsets” and/or watch the video “The power of believing that you can improve | Carol Dweck” on YouTube.
Purpose: Within the Erasmus+ project GrowthMinds, we gather best-practice examples of growth mindset teaching at university level intended to be published in an open-access compendium.
What is growth mindset-oriented teaching? A growth mindset can be fostered in many different ways, e.g., giving students extensive feedback to help them understand and learn from their mistakes, or setting up smaller goals throughout a course to encourage students’ consistent, incremental progress, or implementing meaningful cooperative activities, rather than competitive or individualistic work. We have deducted growth mindset indicators that capture what growth mindset teaching should encompass (Link to document with indicators). In the questionnaire, you will also be asked to describe how your activity fulfils (some of) these indicators. However, mind that rarely will it be possible to address all in one situation – which should also not be the purpose of these indicators.
We need you! A lot of us are doing something in our teaching that fosters students’ growth mindset. We kindly invite you to share such an example – this can be a short, 15-minute activity or a whole course. To appreciate your effort, your example will then be published in the open-access compendium. Your participation and the publication will be completely free of charge. We hope that a lot of people will contribute to the compendium so that everyone who is interested in the topic of growth mindset teaching has access to an extensive and easily available collection of best-practice examples.
What happens to the submitted examples? All examples submitted to the GrowthMinds project are subject to peer review. This way, manuscripts receive expert feedback, allowing authors to improve their work. Therefore, this process ensures that high-quality examples are published and that readers of the compendium can trust the quality of the examples.