Happy Thursday, everyone! I could not find a topic to write about today, until I read Ashley’s blog post, “The Liberation that Comes with Asking Questions.” She talks about her own experience working as an English tutor, which made me think of mine!
I learned about Carol S. Dweck’s fixed mindset and growth mindset while training to be a tutor for community college students.
Basically, she asserts that there are two mindsets.
If a person has a fixed mindset, the individual believes their abilities are fixed/established.
A person with a growth mindset believes that their abilities can be developed.
We were trained that parents should not simply tell their child, “Oh, you’re so smart,” when a child brings home a good grade. Instead, the parent should tell that child, “You worked really hard, and it paid off.”
The problem is that school can often be easy for children when they start. A child can believe that they were born intelligent (fixed mindset), but then when the assignments get harder and that child struggles for the first time, they may be confused that they are not instantly grasping the new material.
A child may then become afraid to ask questions when they don’t understand a lesson, because they have been repeatedly praised for being intelligent. Therefore, they fear looking stupid and decide it is best to hide their ignorance or misunderstanding.
However, I’m sure you can imagine how not asking questions can impede one’s learning.
A child can also have a fixed mindset by believing they are just dumb. Again, they will not ask questions, because they figure “what’s the point” if their intelligence is static.
Another sign that a person has a fixed mindset is if they ever say something like, “I’m not a math person.” Typically, this means, “I’m not good at math, and I never will be.”
It is important to note, even if a person has a growth mindset, they can still struggle. The difference is when they recognize that math is difficult for them, they will ask questions in class, go to their instructor’s office hours, and visit the tutoring center.
By the way, a person can have a fixed mindset in one area and a growth mindset in another.
I remember when I first learned about these mindsets, my mind exploded. I was that kid in class who was TERRIFIED to be called on. What if I didn’t know the right answer? What if I gave the wrong answer, and everyone would think, “What an idiot,” and then I’d die right there. Yes, I was a very dramatic child. Still am.
Obviously, I’m applying this to school, because I’ve been in college for ten years, and it’s all I think about. But, I feel this is also timely for all of you who made New Year resolutions. In what areas do you have a fixed mindset?
If you want a growth mindset, remember it’s about asking for help and finding effective resources.
Again, Happy Thursday!