Growth vs. Fixed Mindset


In education, there is an understanding of a “fixed mindset” versus a “growth mindset.” Each of these thought processes has long lasting ramifications if a student or a teacher employs such thinking. In a fixed mindset, individuals tend to attribute failure to some sort of inherent negative qualities about themselves. However, a growth mindset encourages the opportunity to view failure as a stepping stone to success, cultivating resilient students with a deeper love of learning.

In a fixed mindset, views about intelligence or aptitude are often thought of as being predetermined and thus incapable of improvement through application or perseverance. Students with a fixed mindset are more likely to give up in the face of setbacks and have a negative view of their potential. Further, in order to prove their aptitude, they often avoid taking on challenging tasks, stunting their long-term growth as learners.

As research has shown that fixed mindsets are incredibly unhelpful in guiding students, many reports have shown that using a growth mindset empowers students to tackle the toughest challenges. Teachers looking to install a growth mindset focus on rewarding effort rather than intelligence. This has implications for thinking about learning, intelligence, and abilities, which can affect academic performance and overall self-esteem. The key to a growth mindset is focusing on dedication and putting in hard work.

In a recent study conducted by Carol S. Dweck (2008) she traced middle school classes for two years. With respect to math, it was discovered that those with the growth mindset were particularly more concerned with learning and showed massive improvement over time. These students also tended to believe that applying more effort would yield better results.

PCS strives to cultivate growth mindsets by promoting the 16 habits of mind. These habits are identified as a set of problem solving skills necessary to operate in society while providing sufficient answers in the realm of strategic reasoning, insightfulness, perseverance, creativity, and craftsmanship. The 16 habits of mind include:

Developing these 16 habits of mind is crucial in taking the first steps in creating a growth mindset. PCS thrives on helping students realize their full potential, while equipping them with the best resources available in education.


Dweck, C. (2008). Mindsets and math/science achievements. Retrieved August 4, 2016 from