What type of mindset do you have? In her seminal book, Mindset, psychologist and Stanford Professor Carol Dweck discussed two types of mindset: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
According to Dweck, a fixed mindset is where we see our qualities and skills as settled traits. Someone with a fixed mindset doesn’t think they can change who they are or what they’re good at, and is unlikely to even try.
A growth mindset, however, is where we put effort into improving ourselves. Dweck suggests that a person with a growth mindset will readily take on extra challenges, will invest time into learning new skills, and will actively seek to overcome obstacles in their life.
For entrepreneurs who want to innovate, a growth mindset can make a huge difference. When we adopt a growth mindset, we choose to develop ourselves and expand our horizons. When we see a problem, we find ways to address it. We upskill ourselves in order to take on all challenges.
Studies have actually shown how a growth mindset can lead to success, and how a fixed mindset can do the opposite.
One study looked at the effects of different mindsets in the classroom. The study showed that students with a growth mindset are three times more likely to achieve the top 20% of grades, whereas those with a fixed mindset are four times more likely to score in the bottom 20%.
So, how can we encourage students to adopt a growth mindset? Here are are a few suggestions.
1) Teach students to value challenges
A growth mindset is all about taking on challenges rather than shying away from them. We can help students to appreciate a challenge by demonstrating how obstacles can lead to new and innovative solutions. There are plenty of business examples. Just think about Apple, which was near bankruptcy at one point, but overcame its challenges to become a leading tech firm.
2) Ask students to go further with their answers
When a student gives an answer in class, ask them to go further. When you ask them to expand on their answer, you’re encouraging them to think more deeply. You could even encourage them to question or rethink their answer. Providing the question doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, asking students to think more deeply about their responses is a great way of encouraging them to take on a growth mindset.
3) Encourage students to do extra research
Does your organisation have access to a library, or to a digital repository of information? Encourage students to use additional resources which will give them insights beyond the course that they’re taking. These extra resources promote further research, and help students to take responsibility for learning even more.
Promoting a growth mindset is the key to unlocking the potential of students. If they graduate with a growth mindset, students can go far in life and business. Let’s make sure all of our students go out into the world with a growth mindset.