Discovering the Importance of Mindsets

Dressing is to Salad as Growth Mindset is to Achieving Potential

Reflect:  How do I respond to a challenge?  How does my brain react?

Do you face challenges with “I either get this, or I don’t” because you believe a solution to a challenge should come naturally, or “I don’t want to look stupid, so I better get this right.


Do you face challenges with effort, enjoy the process of learning, and capitalize on mistakes?  Do you believe there’s truth in “errors are our friends?

MindSetChartSelecting the latter response shows a growth mindset.  Carol Dweck’s video interview at the 2013 ASCD Conference discusses the importance of developing growth-mindset learners.  She praises the direction in which the common core is leading educators.  However, more importantly, she shares her research knowledge about the importance of developing students’ minds to meet the challenging curriculum.  She emphasizes the importance of developing school systems in which children are eager for a challenge because the challenge is captivating and not a condemnation of their abilities.   Non-cognitive skills are not what children need to learn; they need skills to take on learning.

It seems that people forget more and more about the most prominent part of learning — students reaching their highest potential.  Educators are to develop minds, preferably growth mindsets — a mindset that believes intelligence can be developed and that effort is key to success — a mindset that enjoys the process of learning and, thus, believes “you can always grow and learn.”

A growth mindset can mean the difference between students reaching their highest potential and not reaching their highest potential.  Developing growth mindsets will increase the number of students reaching success rates on exams and increase achievement, which, in turn, narrows achievement gaps.   Dweck’s research proves that with a growth mindset one will achieve greater success.  No matter what the reach — an exam, a project, a performance, an essay– a growth mindset is necessary for students to reach their highest potential.

Developing growth-mindset learners ensures that, when challenged, students will put forth effort, so they pay attention to learning information and trying out new ways of doing things.  They’ll be motivated to learn and not give up when they don’t succeed.  Whether you prefer to develop growth-mindset learners every day or with every lesson, it is essential that developing growth mindsets is part of your routine so that all students reach their highest potential.  Just like dressing is important to a salad, developing a growth mindset is important to achieving potential.


Growth mindset is a key factor that influences reaching one’s highest potential.  Is it the most important factor?

Who else impacts the development of a particular mindset (fixed or growth)?

Frances Malave

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