Open Thinkering


Carol Dweck on ‘growth mindsets’ and motivation.

Last week I attended the Scottish Learning Festival. I was there for two reasons: an official reason (for which the Academy kindly paid my expenses) and an unofficial one. The latter I’ve already blogged about in the form of My Google Apps Education Edition ‘nano presentation’ at TeachMeetSLF09 but the former has taken a little longer to put together… :-p

A few weeks ago our Executive Principal introduced the Teaching & Learning team to Carol Dweck’s ‘mindset’ theory of motivation. I wanted to find out more and was informed (via Twitter) that she was keynoting SLF09. Spying an opportunity, I asked for (and was granted) permission to attend – on the proviso that I produced some type of ‘video podcast’ to inform staff of what I’ve learned.

The 8-minute video at the top of this post is a sneak peek at what I’ll be distributing to colleagues at the Academy this week. I’d very much welcome your feedback! 😀

(Dweck’s book Mindset: the new psychology of motivation can be found at Amazon and, as they say, ‘all good bookshops – and probably some average ones’….)

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9 thoughts on “Carol Dweck on ‘growth mindsets’ and motivation.

  1. I heard Carol talk at SLF also and this is a great reminder. Thanks. Praise needs to be used by educators far more carefully than it has been in the past I think, if we are to avoid a generation of self confident underachievers. Rarely have I listened to a speaker who spoke so much common sense in my opinion.

  2. It’s an enlightening video Doug. It’s well put together and just the right length to get the message across. And it’s made me sit up and think about how I use praise in my own classroom. It’s definitely something I’ll need to think about more but would need to delve into further before using this approach in my classroom.
    Good luck with the presentation. I’m sure your colleagues will find it very useful.

  3. I really enjoyed watching this video. It made me start thinking about how to better praise my students. At the moment, I may be too “fixed mindset” type of teacher! I’m sure it will be very useful for colleagues.

  4. I find that discussing the two mindsets is helpful for senior students. I haven’t read the book yet but one of my department colleagues has – there are apparently some very useful resources to help pupils identify which mindset they belong to and importantly how they can develop the growth mindset.

    All of this is rooted in the recent developments in understanding the plasticity of the brain. There are more things to come, I think: what an exciting time to be an educator!

  5. Very interesting and logical. Makes heaps of sense and is certainly something that teachers in general could take on board.
    Think too that in our tutoring situation this would be a very good tool to remember. Children like praise, so we must be careful with our choice of words when we give it.
    The woman in the classes would brass me off though – answering the questions before they’re asked!

  6. Thank you for this terrific video. It’s great to “hear” from Carol Dweck live. Her research is particularly important for kids with learning disabilities, who often believe that they can’t do something because of a particular weakness. LD kids who work hard to learn how to read (requiring huge amounts of effort) often become competent readers, as long as instruction is appropriate. Indeed, studies at the Yale Child Study Center show the malleability of the brain by noting that the reading activity center in the brain changes after good remediation — which supports Carol Dweck’s point regarding growth and effort.

  7. Excellent summary and very useful video. Thanks for putting this together. My only slight quibble is the comment by the two talking heads – I’m not convinced that Caroles key message can be summarised as “Are you having fun?”. However, I haven’t read her book yet – maybe I need to follow up more on her research.

    I’m just off to share this post with my students.

  8. Hi Doug. Thanks for compiling this video, very nice.

    fyi, you may be interested to know that today is the public launch of Carol Dweck’s new online program for middle school and high school pupils, to help them cultivate a growth mindset through learning about the malleability of the brain. The website also includes growth mindset videos that you may be interested in, available at:

    The announcement of the launch is at:

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    We’re excited to provide a curriculum to help pupils develop a growth mindset and pursue their full potential.


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