Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

by bpier5 on December 5, 2014 - 5:46pm

            After I had finished reading the article “Can We Make Our Children Smarter?” by Carol S. Dweck, I found myself trying to answer that very question; is it possible to actually make children smarter.  At this point in time, I feel as if I have no answer to that question.  There a couple of things that were presented in the article that made me believe that there was a way to make children smarter, but then I would wonder and really think about how that would realistically work out.  You be the judge of that.

            There are two different types of mindsets; a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  Someone with a fixed mindset believes that their traits in terms of intelligence are fixed and cannot be changed.  On the contrary, someone with a growth mindset believes that their traits in terms of intelligence can be developed through learning and hard work (Dweck, 2010, p. 57).  While there are ways in which mindsets can be changed that include praising students’ efforts, everyone is different.  Something could be beneficial for one student and not for the other student.  They also make the claim that there are ways in which teachers in the classroom can promote intelligence that include teaching a growth mindset, giving challenging work to students, and emphasize process (Dweck, 2010, p. 60).  The only problem is that most teachers don’t follow these guidelines.  Most teachers are only concerned with the grade that students make in order to pass or fail and not so much on what they are actually learning, therefore giving students work that doesn’t challenge them at all in which intelligence is not promoted.  This can essentially cause problems in the long run when one goes off to a higher degree of learning such as college. 

            How can someone who has grown up having a fixed mindset possibly change to a growth mindset when they enter college?  From personal experience, early education does no justice when you get to college.  Teachers, especially in high school coddle you and hold your hand along the way and as I stated before, they only care about if you are passing their class, at least that is how it was in my high school.  I have always had a fixed mindset for as long as I can remember and as soon as I got to college, I was in for a big shock.  It took me a long time for my mindset to change.  There are many implications that could come from the findings in this article.  Learning starts from the time someone enters school and continues throughout college.  A growth mindset should be being promoted in every school throughout the country because college wouldn’t be as hard on the people who are entering it.  Once college students have a growth mindset, learning will become much easier.


Dweck, C.S. (2010). Can we make our students smarter? Canadian Education Association,

            49(4), 56-61.

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