Developing a Growth Mindset


Ella Turner, Head Staff Writer

“Alright class, I’m handing out a math problem for you. Have fun and try your best,” you hear your teacher say. A paper gets placed in front of your desk. You look at it and see a bunch of numbers, but nothing makes sense. You look over at your friend and see her zipping through the problem. You sigh and say, “I’ll never be able to do this.”

This is an example of a Fixed Mindset. These are some things that someone with a fixed mindset would think and feel:

  • If someone is better at something than them, they feel that that person is smarter.
  • They feel pressured when others do well.
  • They ignore feedback.
  • They never give their best effort.
  • They always take the easy route.
  • They think that if they are not good at something, they will never be good at it.
  • They give up when they hit an obstacle that is hard for them.

It’s crazy to think that we do some of these things on the list unintentionally. Having a fixed mindset can really affect what we do every day. Now you’re probably wondering, “Well if I have a fixed mindset, what do I do to change that?” The answer is really very simple. All you have to do is create a Growth Mindset.

When you have a growth mindset, you never have the “That person’s smarter,” philosophy. You know that no one person is smarter than another. Research shows that your brain is making connections all the time, and that if you work on something multiple times, the connection in your brain grows stronger. This shows that if someone is currently better at a task than you are, it is because their brain made the connection faster. The best news? You can make that connection too, and just as strong as theirs! All you have to do is face the challenge with a growth mindset, and your brain WILL make the connection.

Now, here is the question you may still have.  How do you actually build a growth mindset? Well, a person who has a growth mindset loves the word yet. If there is something they can’t do, they say, “I can’t do it YET.” They don’t feel pressure when others do well because they know that with effort, they can accomplish that goal too. When they receive feedback, they take it and look at it in a way that says, “This will help me improve in the future.” They accept challenges with a positive attitude and don’t try to back away. If they do hit a hard obstacle, they know that with practice and effort, that obstacle will be easy to push away.

I had the chance to ask Ms. Sadlon, the sixth-grade Orca math teacher why she felt having a growth mindset is important in math class. She said, “A growth mindset is about having a positive attitude. When students have a growth mindset in math, they view challenges as a way of progressing toward their goals. They are more willing to put in effort even when they struggle or fail, and they stay focused on what they can learn. Students who believe they can develop their talents and skills see roadblocks and feedback as a way to gather information to help themselves learn.”

Now that you know how a growth mindset works, try applying it in your life! When you go to school, ask yourself what you can do to embrace the growth mindset power. I’ve tried having a growth mindset myself, and it has changed my life in school and out. Everything I work towards is easier because, in the back of my head, I know that with perseverance and determination, I can accomplish anything. Think back to my example in the beginning. How can you change the scenario, to make yourself the best you can be? The answer is obtaining a growth mindset?