Carol S. Dweck

Educator

Nationality: American Born: October 17, 1946

Alan Alexander Milne, better known as A. A. Milne, was an author and poet from England, who was particularly famous for being the creator of the character Winnie the Pooh. Milne was educated at the University of Cambridge and initially worked as a playwright; however it was as the writer of Winnie the Pooh in 1926 that he became famous. It was followed up by The House at Pooh Corner two year later. Other than that, he was a prolific writer who wrote children’s short story and poetry collections, newspaper columns, plays and had also been a columnist for the popular magazine Punch.
I'm such an egghead.
One very common thing is that often very brilliant children stop working because they're praised so often that it's what they want to live as - brilliant - not as someone who ever makes mistakes. It really stunts their motivation.
We're finding that many parents endorse a growth mindset, but they still respond to their children's errors, setbacks or failures as though they're damaging and harmful. If they show anxiety or overconcern, those kids are going toward a more fixed mindset.
As the growth mindset has become more popular and taken hold, we are beginning to find that there are pitfalls. Many educators misunderstand or misapply the concepts.
You can't just declare that you have a growth mindset. Growth mindset is hard.
I teach a freshman seminar every year, and we delve very, very deeply into their mindsets. They read scientific articles, but we also focus on what their mindset is, and they learn to recognize when they are in more of a fixed mindset, because we're all a mixture.
My undergraduates, at first, get all starry-eyed about the idea of finding their passion, but over time, they get far more excited about developing their passion and seeing it through. They come to understand that that's how they and their futures will be shaped and how they will ultimately make their contributions.
When I was in graduate school, I became very interested in why some kids took on challenges and were able to bounce back from setbacks whereas others shy away from difficulty and really crumble when they hit failures. I became fascinated with people who had that kind of courage to take on challenges.
I grew up in an environment that promoted a very fixed mindset. It was an era that worshipped IQ and thought that your IQ was the most important thing in determining your future. My sixth-grade teacher even seated us around the room in IQ order.
The mindset ideas were developed as a counter to the self-esteem movement of blanketing everyone with praise, whether deserved or not.
With a growth mindset, kids don't necessarily think that there's no such thing as talent or that everyone is the same, but they believe everyone can develop their abilities through hard work, strategies, and lots of help and mentoring from others.
I've always been interested, since graduate school, in why some children wilt and shrink back from challenges and give up in the face of obstacles, while others avidly seek challenges and become even more invested in the face of obstacles. So this has been my primary question for over 40 years.