An Educator's View


Topic: Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Season to use: Any time a student is struggling

Process: Open Discussion with Question Prompts 


  1. Check in: Everyone share their "highs and lows" from the week OR favorite intellectual virtue and why
  2. Intellectual Exploration:
    1. Watch or read one of the following texts together:
      1. NPR Story: The Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern and Western Cultures Tackle Learning
      2. Chart below compiled from Carol Dwek's article: "Even Geniuses Work Hard"
    2. Process the texts with any of these questions or create your own:
      • What have you struggled or failed in over this year? How did it feel?
      • Did you take on more of a fixed or growth mindset in that situation?
      • What virtues did you practice? What could be practiced more?
      • How do your practice of virtues impact the rest of the family (be brave on this one!)
      • What virtues do you want to grow in this year? How will you know if you’ve grown?

        Growth Mindset

        Fixed Mindset

        Intelligence is inborn. You have a certain amount and that’s it.

        You can develop your intelligence over time. 

        Tends to value looking smart over anything else

        Values challenging work as an opportunity to grow

        Says, "I can’t do this"

        Says, "I love a challenge, mistakes are my friend"

        Doesn't like effort: if you have the ability it should come naturally – if you have to work hard you feel dumb

        Appreciates the effort: even geniuses have to work hard

        Doesn't like setbacks because they call intelligence into question – self-condemnation or defeat

        Remains involved even under and obstacle, seek resources, try new strategies – opportunity for growth

3. Reflect: Celebrate the opportunity to grow in this next year together! Do you want accountability together? Will you check in, if so then when? What virtues did your family practice together in this discussion?