Impact of Fixed and Growth Mindsets on Learning

The secret to raising smart kids Essay

More often than not, people usually assume that ability or superior intelligence is a fundamental element of success. But research done in more than two decades points out that overemphasis on either intellect or talent and the belief that the two are fixed, and innate only brings vulnerability to failure, fear or challenges and no motivation to learn. In this paper, I will analyze the impact of fixed and growth mindsets on learning, why it is favorable to shift from fixed to growth mindsets, and the benefits that get reaped out of it in the long run.

At the outset, it is crucial to point out that Dweck discovered the aspect of mindsets and by her own description, a fixed mindset is held by people who view that primary qualities like talent and intelligence as fixed traits. On the other hand, she describes a growth mindset as an idea held by those who think that the simplest abilities can be nurtured through hard work and dedication. In simple terms, for growth mindsets, talent and brains are just a starting point.

Unfortunately, the contemporary society reveres talent, and nearly everyone assumes that possessing superior intelligence is a required element of success. 35 years of research reveal that dwelling too much on these features tags along failure and unwilling remedy to the shortcomings that come by. Frequently, parents who have fixed minds settle on a dangerous notion that the academic performance of their children defines them. They will, therefore, go to extents of praising their children using rudiments that hang on being smart of gifted. Sorry to say, this believe ends up ‘destroying’ such children – making them hold on to the outlook that intelligence is fixed. It then makes them perceive being smart as being far much more important than striving to learn. Resultantly, it causes the subjects to lose confidence and motivation when what they are doing stretches beyond their intelligence or talent1. A fixed mind can, therefore, prevent people from living up to their potentials and this includes employees, athletes, couples or students.

It is common to wonder why some individuals give up when they encounter intricacies while their skilled counterparts continue to endure and strive. The fact is, when one links poor performance to their lack of ability, it depresses their motivations more than when lack of effort is assumed to be the problem.

When we root our argument on intelligence, according to Dweck’s study, the conclusion is that learners possessing a fixed mindset are more concerned about the reward they get after learning. These learners usually have negative views of effort pivoting their argument on ‘working hard is equal to sign of little ability.’ Consequently, their assumption is that intelligent people do not have to go an extra mile of working hard and as such, learners with fixed-mindsets end up studying less in future.

However, students with growth mindsets usually feel that learning is more important goal than getting good grades, a complete opposite of those with the other mindset. They end up working hard and holding the idea of working hard in high regard, resting on the believe that the more you work at something, then the better you become at it. These type of learners even think that geniuses work hard for their accomplishments. In the end, they study harder or try different strategies when confronted with a setback such as disappointing results.

For the above reasons, it is beneficial to change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. To move on to the positive direction, parents, teachers, and guardians should give proper praise to those who look upon them. One way is using stories of achievement that are rooted on hard work2. Mentors should always communicate the growth mindset through praise. Additionally, changing into and using the growth mindsets should be accompanied by praise for effort. The mind should be taken as a learning machine, and so instructions should be taken account of.

It all boils down to the mindset being an analytical process that tells individuals what goes on around them. In the fixed mindset, the process gets scored b internal monologs of constant evaluation and judgments, using available information as evidence against or in favor of deciding whether the individual is a bad person or whether the next person is selfish among others.  In a growth mindset, the internal monologs are not part of judgments but elements of an appetite for learning and continually seeking input so as to mobilize constructive action.

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