In September, schools leaders engaged in a close reading of work by Carol Dweck (exemplar here) describing “fixed mindsets” and “growth mindsets.” The following video demonstrates how praising 5th graders for their intelligence versus their effort leads to the two aforementioned outcomes. If you know Dweck, you know the punch line. Praising students for their effort instills the motivation to persist through new and rigorous tasks. In this case, students are given simple puzzles to complete. As they work, they are either reminded how smart they are or how hard working they are. The students who hear how hard working they are continue through more challenging puzzles while the other group asks to return to easier puzzles.
Knowing how educators impact the development of “growth” and “fixed” mindsets becomes especially important as students are asked to wrestle with increasingly complex text and its academic vocabulary. You can watch the entire video here and gain a firmer understanding what you can do to help your students.