Mindset Series – 3. Fostering a Growth Mindset Culture in the Classroom

classroom-clip-art-15If you have not had a chance to read the other posts in this series you can find them here:

Mindset Series: 1. Fixed vs Growth Mindsets – Explores the difference between a fixed mindset and growth mindset.

Mindset Series: 2. Praise – Is it Helping or Hindering Growth – Explores the difference between ability praise which fosters a fixed mindset compared to effort praise which fosters a growth mindset.

With this in mind, how do we ensure we are creating a growth mindset culture within the classroom for students?

Teachers play an important role in shaping young minds

Once a child starts school their teacher becomes one of the most influential people in their life as they spend approximately 5 hours a day, 5 days a week in the classroom.

With the growing expectations placed on teachers and the increasing numbers of children within classrooms, it can become overwhelming trying to cater to every child’s need. At times, without even realizing it, it is all too easy for teachers to fall in the trap of believing that there is nothing more they can do to improve a child’s achievement and intelligence.

Findings from a study conducted by Falko Rheinberg suggest that teachers who believe that they have an influence on students’ intelligence because intelligence can be developed, observe significant improvement from initially low achieving students. However, teachers who believe they have no impact on students’ intelligence, viewing intelligence as fixed, observe little change during the school year with low achievers tending to remain low achievers (i), (ii).

How we can encourage a growth mindset culture in the classroom?

1. Teach it! – Separate studies completed by Carol Dweck, Catherine Good and Joshua Aronson, provided a group of students a series of sessions teaching them how the brain works with the underlying message that their brains form new connections every time they learn, therefore over time they become smarter.

Findings consistently showed that the group who received these sessions, showed significantly improved levels of motivation, grades, achievement test scores and desire to work hard and learn, compared to the control groups and groups who received study skills techniques, (ii).

Brainology (iii) is a program that has been developed for use in schools to teach students how the brain works and is available as a preview to schools to explore what it has to offer.

2. Reflect on your own mindset from time to time – Being conscious of falling into a fixed mindset trap is half the battle won – from here you can make a conscious decision to review the situation and shift your mindset and subsequently how you work with the child.

3. Encourage a growth mindset message from a school level – You are more likely to instill the message ‘you can become smarter’ in your students if they are hearing the same consistent message across the school.

4. Give effort praise rather than ability praise and teach the children how to give effort praise to their peers. It is acknowledged that this can be easier said than done, however in the true spirit of fostering a growth mindset – it is just a matter of learning a new skill.

What have you found useful in creating a growth mindset culture in the classroom? 


Mindsets – Do you have a growth or fixed mindset?

Fixed vs Growth Mindset.

Praise – Is it helping or hindering growth?

Praise effort not ability – Easier said than done.

Fostering a growth mindset culture in the classroom.


(i) Dweck, C. (2009).Theories of Intelligence

(ii) Dweck, C. (2010). Boosting Achievement with Messages that Motivate

(iii) Mindset Works – Home of Brainology


Learn resources    Grow resources    Flourish resources page

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