“Growth Mindset” in Action at Beaches Episcopal School

Open the door to any classroom at Beaches Episcopal School and you are likely to observe evidence of a “Growth Mindset” at work. Instead of hearing students say, “This is too hard!” they might say, “This may take some time.” A teacher might be overheard explaining to a student who is having difficulty mastering a challenging skill that they simply have not mastered the skill YET. Teachers may have visuals posted around the room to remind students that success may take hard work and several attempts, employing a variety of strategies, to achieve the end goal. Teachers or even a classmate may be seen encouraging students to try various learning strategies. Students try new ways to meet a challenge, understanding that mistakes will help them learn, and that mastery might take some time. These are just a few ways you may see a “Growth Mindset” in action in our classrooms.

Dr. Carol Dweck, a longtime Stanford researcher, has studied students’ attitudes about failure and has coined the terms “Fixed Mindset” and “Growth Mindset.” In a “Growth Mindset” model, students believe that they can get smarter and understand that the brain can grow and change with effort. Students embrace failure as a steppingstone for development and will apply new strategies and approaches to learning content and concepts they find challenging. They become motivated to put in extra time and effort that leads to higher achievement.

BES teachers cultivate these beliefs, strategies, and habits that drive learning. Teachers are making learning stimulating and relevant by guiding students to develop a “Growth Mindset.” This allows students to understand that they can grow abilities in school, on the ball field, or at the dance studio through effective effort. They are not afraid of making mistakes as they are developing learning-oriented dispositions and competencies. Motivated learners find passions that ignite lifelong growth, putting students in the driver’s seat of their own learning as they navigate life in the 21st century.

Diane Wellman
BES Language Arts Teacher
Grades 5 and 6