Step 2 B: Growth v. Fixed Mindset


After watching the video, use the comment section below to reflect on what it means to have a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset and how you demonstrate characteristics associated with either or both. Then, read through a sampling of responses from your colleagues.



1,028 thoughts on “Step 2 B: Growth v. Fixed Mindset

  1. Shane Riddle says:

    Students with a growth mindset have a higher academic performance, likely because their goals are to learn rather than to “look smart.” These students value effort and work harder when faced with challenges. I teach freshman, and many of them are stuck in a fixed mindset rut, and it’s such a challenge to get them out of it.


  2. Amparo Martin says:

    A fixed midst is a stubborn minset. A growth mindset always carries faith. It’s amazing the ability of the fixed mindset to rationalize itself so strongly that one never sees outside of it, or is even able to seriously consider the possibilities that exist for growth and the realization of even the tiniest morsel of potential. I needed to see this, in my own way, at this point in time. Most importantly, thank you for all the assistance that you have provided me in being able to overcome the negativity, which as it tends to rationalize itself, seeks to place the blame on circumstances and even genetics for the lack of ability. Progress has been slow, but more and more, I’m willing to recognize the fact that there is progress as part of this great journey we call ‘life’, as opposed to worrying about how long it’s taking to happen.


  3. Nicole Niederdeppe says:

    Having a growth mindset means believing in your own (and others’) ability to learn new knowledge or skills. Conversely, a fixed mindset means believing that you have an innate intelligence or attributes and that certain skills or tasks cannot be accomplished due to your innate characteristics. I believe in a growth mindset; why couldn’t one learn something new with the right amount of practice and persistence? Of course, motivation plays a huge role in any individual’s desire or ability to learn a skill or idea.


  4. John says:

    It would seem that most people have a growth mindset, however, many people also seem to have growth mindsets in certain areas of study and fixed mindsets in others. The challenge seems to be to get people to have a growth mindset in most or all areas of life.


  5. N Strickland says:

    A growth mindset is the belief that you can expand your intelligence, where a fixed mindset is the belief that you are born with a set capacity to learn. The fixed mindset is often reinforced by praising children for being so smart rather than praising them for their effort.


  6. K. Navarrete says:

    Having a growth mindset means that we believe in intellectual growth through exposure, challenges and mastery. Having a fixed mindset is represented through not doing well with being challenged, and having the notion that no matter what is learned, intelligence is stagnant.


  7. Paytsar Sasunyan says:

    Based on the video, “basic intelligence” is the collection of all your knowledge and skills, and people with growth mindset believe that their basic intelligence can improve as a result of learning, making mistakes and taking on challenging tasks. By contrast, people with fixed mindset see their intelligence as a fixed trait, like eye color, and that no amount of practice and effort can make a difference in their overall intelligence. Mistakes and failures are affirmations of their “stupidity” rather than indications of things to work on, and that in time with enough practice, the things that see out of reach can become “second nature”.


  8. Azniv Shahmelikian says:

    Growth mindset means learning through questions, challenges are welcome,and practice in different ways are useful.,It doesn’t label people as smart or dome.


  9. Melinda says:

    I understand the difference between the Fixed, and Growth Mindsets. I find it interesting that at the highest levels, my AP Language class, I find students that have the Fixed Mindset. In fact, I would say I see more Fixed mindset at the higher academic levels. It seems that some students are satisfied that what they currently do is the highest level of achievement, and feel that they know what they need to. I believe that most of them adjust well, after they find there is room for improvement. I It just seems out of place to find the fixed mindset at that level. It is also always a balancing act to keep from in anyway bruising their egos, because I really want to encourage them to grow.

    In my LTEL classroom I often see the fixed mindset too. With these students it seems easier to convince them that they are growing in their reading and writing skills daily.

    They all benefit from positive and constructive feedback! 🙂


  10. Silvia A. Almaguer says:

    A person with a fixed mindset will not embrace challenge because if it doesn’t come easy to them they will blame their intellectual ability for this.
    It doesn’t help when parents tell them , “Hey, don’t worry , we all have a problem in that subject, ” or ” You know you have a learning disability,” or worse,”you are not smart, doesn’t that teacher know?
    I agree that the brain is a muscle, but instead of growing muscles, you grow dendrites and axons and a web not unlike the world one, that has the ability for infinite knowledge but at a different pace. It will accelerate eventually. But at the moment, “Not Yet”


  11. Emmanuel DM says:

    Having a growth mindset means I will not quit or give up on anything that I want to succeed in. I’m not “smart” nor am I “dumb”, I learn based on the hard work and effort I put into what I want to be successful in. A fixed mindset means that my intelligence was and is based on my accomplishments. Having a fixed mindset will not allow me to change my ways because I am what I learned in the past.


  12. marilou Adra says:

    A person with growth mindset has a belief system that brain is capable of building tiny muscles in it with constant practice. They believe that new knowledge can be learned and that struggle is part of learning. A person with fixed mindset, however, believe that they were born with nonmalleable set of brain muscles that whatever you do they are not capable of learning new things. For them, struggle to learn is a waste of time.


  13. Valencia says:

    Having a growth mind set, allows a person to learn more, over come challenges, and overall get better grades. On the other hand, with a fix mind set, a person is afraid of challenges, doesn’t do well when they fail, and think they are just naturally bad at a subject and will never be able to learn it. I like the analogy about the muscles, if we go to the gym we challenge our muscles by doing weights, different exercises, run faster and longer, the same thing happens with our brains. Brain can be trained or exercised to learn a subject and over come challenges.


  14. Shannon George says:

    Growth mindset involves having the belief that you can learn and do better and improve both your academic performance and your ability to succeed in the future. However, fixed mindset begins with the premise that nothing one does will matter because the basic result will always be the same. STudents with this mindset do not believe in their ability to improve or grow. Thus, their basic response is to shut down and not even try.


  15. Kevin says:

    A growth mindset means that the person wants to learn rather than look smart. They value effort and hard work. A fixed mindset person gives up when things get to challenging. Overall, a person with a growth mindset does better in school.


  16. Lynn Brown says:

    Students with a growth mindset are not afraid to put themselves out there – they are willing to try and learn from their mistakes. Students with a fixed mindset are afraid to meet challenges because they fear being made fun of by their peers. I think fixed and growth mindsets are relative to cognitive development. It’s my opinion that young child are usually not afraid to run, play, get dirty and verbally express themselves; a growth mindset. Adolescents tend to be more concerned with what others think about them and tend to hold back asking questions; a fixed mindset. After high school, these students are getting jobs, going to college, becoming more independent; a growth mindset.


  17. Alexandra Hohmann says:

    A fixed mindset is “I can’t/I won’t/Never going to happen.” A growth mindset is “I will try/I can/I am doing it.” I use the quotes because this is often what hear from my students. They often give up before they even get started. If I can help them to make that small tweak–from “I won’t” to “I will try,” I hope they can continue to have a growth mindset in everything they do. I even share anecdotes from my own life about how I have a fixed mindset regarding my math skills.


  18. Ryan Pool says:

    A fixed mindset does not allow room for growth. Therefore, it can negate a students efforts at improvement or even demoralize them. However, a growth mindset supports a student in believing they can expand their knowledge.


  19. I used PERTS and the inventory to have my students access themselves, so why not also access myself. I clearly have changed in the awareness of this theory how I see myself as well as how I see education. Every few years I would meet someone who had incredible obstacles to learning who did not get discouraged or slowed down by those challenges. I always wondered how much have a “POLLY-ANNA” attitude contributes to real-world success. I have found a real haven in my own search for a lifelong education and want to transmit that to students I work with. How to do that beyond just teaching fixed-growth mindset is new to me.


  20. Judith Lynda Fonarow says:

    A growth mindset is one where students value their learning as an adventure-a challenge to learn new informative or figure out new approaches to solving problems, and where failure does not make them feel inadequate, but that they need another approach to their learning.


  21. Matthew Lee says:

    A student with a fixed mindset truly believes that knowledge is fixed and will not change, no matter how much effort they put into learning it. Ironically, however, many people who claim to have a fixed mindset will also agree or admit that they have learned something (how to walk, how to talk, or something from school, etc.) at some point during their lives. Treating the brain like a muscle, a student with a growth mindset sees effort as a way to develop and further their understanding of knowledge.


  22. Gabriela says:

    This supports that people with fixed mind set will feel they are limited, they will give up without trying.
    Growth mind set people will work harder because they know there is room for improvement.


  23. Kenneth Zubiate says:

    When I was younger, I always thought I was naturally better at math than other subjects. I always did well on tests and got good grades. At that point in my life, I thought I would never be big on reading or writing. I changed a lot when I realized that I could get a lot out of those worlds if I just took the time to put more effort into them. I ended being more proud and passionate about what I put my effort toward then what I used to think was my proclivity. So I can personally see how a growth mindset can change your whole perspective on a subject and provide motivation to develop these skills into what I now think of as my strongest.


  24. Meghan Truax says:

    Fixed mindset limits students by placing them in boxes based on perceived levels of intelligence. If a student is underachieving, they would be labelled as having a lower intelligence and would be less likely to be challenged. Having a growth mindset ensures that we are pushing each student to grow and improve and giving all students opportunities to be successful. However, one of the most important aspects is the student’s mindsets themselves. If a student does not think they can ‘be smart’, they will lose interest in school and will not try and improve.


  25. Hugo Sandoval says:

    With “Growth Mindset” the individual can learn and keep on improving on learning. It is difficult for the individual to be motivated and learn if they are not willing to attempt this concept. The educator is the one that works as the facilitator in order to assist the student achieve this understanding. Students must put int he work and time in order to achieve those goals that are challenging for them and grow their understanding.


  26. Dorothy Cox says:

    As educators we provide support for our students as they develop a growth mindset. We introduce them to new knowledge and assist them as they use the new knowledge in new ways . We encourage and motivate other students that may not be as aspiring as our “growth mindset” students to try harder and praise them as they attempt. A fixed mindset is not an option for student or teacher success.


  27. Manuel Velazquez says:

    A growth mindset is the ability to learn from mistakes and success the ability to grow from various modalities. A fixed mindset is the acquisition of factual knowledge, the correct answer.


  28. natalie p says:

    A person with a fixed mindset will easily give up when things get hard. When someone has a growth mindset they are react positively to failure, and they are able to see failures as a learning opportunity rather than a hurdle. Someone with a growth mindset can see that there is an outcome and they will eventually find the solution.


  29. Bryan Ramos says:

    To have a growth mindset we must be willing to be willing to take risks and setbacks and learn from it instead of giving up. Since many students are in the fixed mindset, they might not work hard to improve because they’ve accepted the fact that they can’t learn or go higher in their intelligence. Making a classroom setting so that having a growth mindset is the norm can be a challenge.


  30. Micaela Mesino says:

    After watching the video, people with growth mindset believe their is room for developing their intelligence. However, people with a fixed mindset believe you are born with a certain level of intelligence. NOW……How do we get our students to have a growth mindset?


  31. Janice Lopez says:

    People with a growth mindset feel that there is always room for improvement and change, while those with a fixed mindset feel that when things are hard, they give up easily because they feel that they are “not smart enough.”


  32. Marquez Janna says:

    A person with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence is static and the “intelligence” each person has is the prescription for how much a person will learn and achieve success. A growth mindset values grit, perseverance, and learning from failures because a person has the potential for learning all the time. I think I had a fixed mindset in my past because I absorbed a lot of the values around me. These values stated that there were “smart” kids and “goof-off” kids who didn’t care about doing well at school. I have welcomed the awareness about having a growth mindset and have shown more of this mindset in recent times. For example, as a high school teacher I encouraged students to redo assignments to earn a better grade and to work towards mastery of the material. Working with students with special needs, I used many tools to increase motivation which is, in my opinion, a key component of a growth mindset.


  33. I think mindsets are on a constantly shifting continuum and can be hard to pin down at any point in time. Awareness of the concept itself may be helpful. Most people (students) strongly prefer to have a growth mindset and will appreciate support towards that. But there’s no easy yes or no divide between mindsets, in my opinion.

    It’s a bit like fear. If you know you are afraid, you can choose to take steps to address the fear in stages that are comfortable for you. Or you may just say to yourself, I am not ready for that now. Sometimes I don’t realize that I choose not to do something out of fear, I just think I don’t “feel” like it.

    A growth mindset is more meta-cognitive and reflective. A growth mindset is more playful and less stressed about pleasing others. A great teacher would be able to help students get past a fear of learning and the need to please others.


  34. Clay Landon says:

    I believe in my student’s ability to learn over time. I believe each student will learn at a different pace. having a fixed mindset, to me, means averaging in the grades over the course of the year and punishing students who miss earlier assignments. It doesn’t work.


  35. Lorena says:

    If we can help our students not have a fixed mindset then we can help our students believe that if they work hard at something they can achieve their goal. A student who has always struggled in math is going to have a fixed mindset in thinking that they are not good in Math, but a teacher can change that type of thinking. A teacher that can help a student realize that all they needed was a little extra help or simply differentiate instruction can really make that difference in a child’s academic progress. That teacher can change that fixed mindset into a growth mindset. When we begin to believe in our students, then they begin to believe in themselves.


  36. J. Kelley says:

    Life and school are about effort. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you don’t do anything ( put forth any effort ). Fixed mindset is stagnant. Encouraging growth mind set is the only way to learn and grow.


  37. Nicole Bloom says:

    Having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset means that you believe in your ability to learn. Students with a growth mindset are more willing to challenge themselves because they understand that learning involves setbacks and that it is not a reflection on themselves, rather it is part of a process that is to be expected. Students with a fixed mindset take setbacks personally, as proof they are not smart, and are less willing to try new things if they are not assured they will be successful.


  38. mcecil says:

    Individuals who possess a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is innate, and that not being able to understand something or do something is a sign that we can’t learn it or do it. Individuals who possess a growth mindset, by contrast, believe that our struggle to achieve something simply means that we haven’t mastered it yet—but we can, with practice and support. I’m a new teacher, and I’ve benefited from trying to maintain a growth mindset. When I look at my more experienced colleagues, I try to remember that with practice I can be as good of a teacher as they are. I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.


  39. Emmanuel DM says:

    A growth mindset needs to be fostered early on in life…in school from Pre-K to 12th grade. It’s a hard long process to develop a growth mindset. The sooner we encourage the students to have a growth mindset the more successful they are. But attitudes from teachers, students, and parents must be changed or challenged.


  40. Tammy T. says:

    Growth mindset is a fabulous quality to instill in everyone. This mentality can lead to failure becoming a huge motivator to work harder.


  41. Aida says:

    The concept of growth mindset is very foreign for most of our students. They need to be taught that humans are not born “intelligent’ or “unintelligent” rather they become “intelligent” based on how much effort they demonstrate as they grow older….


  42. Jeffrey mcculty says:

    Growth mindset should be supported strongly in adolescence. I fight this continually with students in mathematics. “I can’t do math”. The greater issue is how to train students that “ can’t do math”. That they can but it will take significant effort and time (target 2 years) to change your ability.


  43. lgoldberg says:

    Fixed mindset seems to be the norm for me and many of my students. I need to help move them into a growth mindset. They need to find learning can be and is enjoyable. Not easy, but the payoffs in learning are huge for their future and mine.


  44. Abraham Arriaga says:

    Let’s embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth rather than failure. A mistake should be a stepping stone towards mastery. Synapses firing, learning occurring. The best baseball players only get on base 3 out of 10 times. They get payed millions for failing more than half of the time. But did they actually fail or grow during those at bats?


  45. Kevin says:

    Having a growth mindset does what it says, “it allows for growth”, whereas, a fixed mindset keeps a person in a “fixed” position. They have no where to go because their “fixed” in a certain spot.


  46. Danielle Klein says:

    A growth mindset supports the idea that someone can learn or develop new knowledge. A fixed mindset refers to the idea that no new knowledge can be acquired. Growth mindsets are better for students because they will reap the rewards from their efforts, try harder, and gain more satisfaction from learning.


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