Mindset Book Study: Chapter 2- Inside the Mindsets

I've been reading Growth Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck as part of a summer book study. I am so excited to  share what I took away from chapter 2! See chapter 1 insights from hosts Kindergarten Smorgasboard and Kindergarten Chaos.

Dr. Dweck explains that there are two types of mindset: growth and fixed. This chapter is chock-full of details, examples and how the two mindsets affect our view of failure, depression, success and work ethic. Here is my definition of the two mindsets....

Fixed Mindset

Someone who believes that they are born with all of the ability they will ever need. There is no need to put forth effort because one shouldn't have to work hard if they are talented/smart enough. People in a fixed mindset stay in their comfort zone where success is a sure thing. I think of a teacher that never wants to try something new because she has found what works and is sticking to it. The thought of failure and challenging one's self isn't appealing at all.

Growth Mindset

Someone who believes that one can change how talented or intelligent you are. It's all about hard work and motivation. People in a growth mindset thrive on a challenge. They are never satisfied and want to constantly challenge one's ability. A teacher that is constantly researching best teaching practices and implementing new ideas comes to mind.

Mindset and Failure

This is what I found to be most interesting. One mindset correlates failure to self worth. For example, a failed action turns into the belief that I am a failure. Dr. Dweck explains, "Beyond how traumatic a setback can be in the fixed mindset, the mindset gives you no good recipe for overcoming it. If failure means you lack competence or potential - that you are a failure - where do you go from there?" This is when the blame game comes into play. It wasn't my fault, they shouldn't have been standing there in the first place. I had practice last night so I didn't have as much time to study. The reasons go on and on....

The other mindset correlates failure as something that can be faced, dealt with, and solved. The problem is a learning experience that happens on the road to success. One can reflect and grow from their mistakes.  For example, if a student does badly on a test, they will be motivated to study harder and work harder next time.

Mindset and Depression

Dr. Dweck explains that each mindset deals with depression differently.

Fixed mindset individuals become unmotivated, may not get out of bed, and stop trying to solve their problems. Thus, resulting in failure and the perception that I am a failure.

Growth mindset individuals that are depressed do the exact opposite. They begin to cope with determination. The worse they feel, the more motivated they become to confront their personal problems.

What I take from this chapter.... 

I truly believe that I have evolved from the fixed mindset to the growth mindset. In college, I believed that I was smart and talented. Therefore, I was going to be a wonderful teacher no matter what. Things had always come very easy to me and I thought teaching was going to be the same. (I know.... you are totally laughing right now!) This changed when my students walked through the door! I began to feel like I wanted to grow more professionally and was never satisfied with the norm. I'm still a work in progress because I am also a total perfectionist! But, I do believe that evolving towards a growth mindset has helped me see that failure is just as important as success.

Good news! Dana from Common to the Core is also giving her spin on chapter 2. Head on over to her blog to read her thoughts on Mindset!

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