Growth Mindset and Why It Matters

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Embedded in this presesntation are five short videos that introduce growth mindset and why it matters. Suggested activities and assignments appear after each video.

Click on a video and it will start. Click anywhere on a slide to advance to the next.

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Download PDF of activities and assignments for use in professional development and the classroom.



October 31, 2013

WKCD has assembled five short videos that provide a lively introduction to growth mindset and why it matters, for students as well as teachers.

  • Professor Carol Dweck outlines her block experiments with children
  • Actor Will Smith tells talk show hosts about his fierce work ethic
  • Mindworks CEO Eduardo Briceño gives a fast-paced overview in a TEDxTalk
  • Musician Derek Sivers offers up a humorous and convincing case for failure
  • Six high school students talk about potential and pushing their limits

At the end of each video we offer suggestions for activities and assignments, for use by teachers (as part of a professional development workshop) and by students (as part of their classroom learning).

We encourage you to browse through the presentation and pick those videos that work for your situation and audience—and to amend the suggested activities and assignment as you see fit.

For those who want to dig deeper, here are several popular books and websites.


Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How. (2009)

Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Technology of Success (2006)

Carol Dweck, "Even Geniuses Work Hard," Educational Leadership (September 2010)

Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success (2008)


Larry Ferlazzo's Best Resources on Helping Students Develop a "Growth Mindset"

Mindset Works, including The Brainology Program (Carol Dweck and Lisa Blackwell)


About Mindset

The concept of “mindset” has gained increasing attention since Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck introduced it in her 2007 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Those with a “fixed” mindset believe that people’s intelligence and abilities are static and outside their control—the widely accepted theory of cognitive development through the 1960s. In contrast, those with a “growth mindset” know that intelligence is dynamic. As neuroscience has now decisively shown, the brain does change based on one’s experiences and efforts.

Regardless of the research, all of us develop beliefs about our own intelligence, beginning in childhood. Some children worry that they don’t have enough. Others grow up thinking that they can do anything if they just work hard at it.

These beliefs make a big difference in how children do in school, research shows. Even students who consider themselves “gifted” often avoid challenge, for fear they might lose status if they fail. But when we teach youth that intelligence is malleable, they more readily take on challenges, persist through difficulties, and experience intellectual growth. (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007)





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“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”

– Deborah Meier, educator