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Do you have a Fixed Mindset or a Growth Mindset?

Sometimes things happen for a reason and come just at the right time. Once again my world of work-education-intersects with my life in a powerful way, delivered via 140 characters in a Twitter chat.

A recently published book by new Heinemann authors Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz entitled A Mindset for Learning Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth, explores  what Carol Dweck calls the Growth Mindset in teaching children.

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.” -from Mindsetonline.com

In their introduction to A Mindset for Learning, Mraz and Hertz share what they call a “constellation of stances” or habits for joyful, successful learning:

“There are habits or stances that we can build in ourselves that will make us more successful and happier. Just as a ready stance in baseball (knees bent, glove out, eyes on the ball) makes us more likely to catch a ball if it happens our way, the ready positions in our brains dictate how we react to challenges and new events.”

They identify these stances as:

  • empathy You have empathy when you feel someone’s feelings in your own heart.
  • optimism  Optimism is feeling hopeful that risks are worth taking and that problems will work their way out. 
  • resilience Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover from setbacks or failures. 
  • persistence Sticking with something even when it is challenging requires persistence. 
  • and flexibility Being flexible means seeing and trying many possible actions rewithin a task.

“…..only when you embrace all of these stances do you truly begin to feel the limitless possibility of life, learning, and yourself.

This week in particular, I needed to be reminded of these traits. I needed to be get out of my stuck, fixed mindset, in order to be able to learn.

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