Author: Dr. Michelle Cline, Superintendent, Throckmorton Collegiate ISD

I am currently reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Dr. Carol Dweck. This book is about how a simple belief in yourself guides you in all aspects of your life. Dweck states this belief actually permeates every aspect of your life.

The two mindsets she speaks about are a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. With a growth mindset, even intellect can be cultivated. Who knew? One would assume that with an IQ test, intellect was static. In fact, that is far from the truth. Binet, who designed the IQ test, designed it so that new educational programs could be developed to get students in Paris public schools back on track. It was never meant to summarize intelligence. This leads to the question “can one become more intelligent?” Dweck’s research says yes, with a growth mindset you can become more intelligent.

This thought of becoming more intelligent led me to ponder one of my favorite TV shows, Grey’s Anatomy. (Once upon a time I wanted to be a surgeon, so I have to throw in a medical comparison.) This show is about surgeons leading interns through a series of teaching, from Harvard Medical Rounds to the surgery observatory. Episode after episode, I witness the surgeons rather than saying it can’t be done, to yes it can as they look for alternatives. I see interns learning from each other and surgeons during rounds, observe in the observation gallery for new surgery techniques, and work relentlessly to improve patient care-this is the growth mindset.

The same could be said for educators. As we work to constantly improve our care for students, we utilize Harvard Instructional Rounds to observe how students are “reacting” to the medical treatment, or teaching strategy, used. We observe effective practices and incorporate those into our instructional model to provide the best care for our students.

I encourage you to read further into Dr. Dweck’s research.

My takeaways are:
– we can increase intelligence through practice, training, and method
– intelligent is not fixed, it can be cultivated
– do labels in our school setting lean towards a fixed, rather than growth mindset?
– the view you set for yourself affects the way you lead your life
– seek feedback to grow and stretch your mind

Which mindset do you have? Mindset is a choice. My choice is a growth mindset – one that leads me to stretch myself to always learning something new. In a way, it makes me feel like a confident 4-year old in a Batman shirt. You can conquer the world with a growth mindset.

Comments 3

  1. David slew Goliath because he BELIEVED he could–and, thus, he did! The U.S. hockey team of years ago beat the mighty Russian team because they BELIEVED they could–and thus, they did. There are lots more examples of the ultimate power of belief in oneself. What might not be understood is that they had to practice and perfect their skills–with a GROWTH MINDSET–to get to the ultimate moment to be able to slay the giant. Do you suppose that Tom Brady has a GROWTH MINDSET? I think so. Helen Keller. Stephen Hawking, …?
    I believe a GROWTH MINDSET is related to GRIT, SELF-EFFICACY, ASPIRATIONS and EXPECTATIONS, RESILIENCE, PERSISTENCE, PROBLEM-SOLVING, CREATIVITY, POSITIVITY, MINDFULNESS, and lots of other perhaps non-cognitive characteristics and personal traits.
    Finally, I believe that we as teachers can help our students to develop these traits and employ them just as we can help them to learn math and welding and English and building construction and social studies and biology and …
    Love your post, Dr. Cline! Amen to all you wrote/shared!

    1. Love these examples Dr. Briers! We CAN develop these traits in our students and they WILL have a growth mindset and accomplish all they want. With or without that Batman shirt

  2. What a gift we can give our kids if we can teach them to seek feedback to grow and stretch their minds at a young age! May we always work as relentlessly as the Gray’s Anatomy surgeons to teach our students to apply the growth mindset and be careful with the labels we might place on students in our schools.

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