Intelligence Can Be Developed: Promoting Growth Mindset

This week, we tackle the subject of the “growth mindset” – the belief that intelligence can be developed.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor and a household name in education, has taught us through her research that with a growth mindset, children can get smarter through hard work. It is contrasted with a fixed mindset: the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait that is set in stone at birth.

According to Dweck, it’s important to promote a growth mindset – an attitude that allows for possibilities and promotes progress and problem-solving. By teaching them that they can try new things, learn new things and that their brains can change and grow, we show them the right attitude for life-long learning. So, as parents, what can we do to help them develop a growth mindset? 

Dweck suggests some phrases that we can use to foster a “growth mindset:”

Praise a child’s progress and strategies, rather than the effort alone.
  • “Wow, you really practiced that, and look how you’ve improved.” “See, you studied more and your grade on this test is higher.” “You tried different strategies and you figured out how to solve the problem.” “You stuck to this and now you really understand it.”
Focus on what was accomplished by the child, rather than telling them to try harder.
  • “Let’s look at what you’ve done,” “Let’s look at what your understanding is,” or “Let’s look at what strategies you’ve used, and let’s figure out together what we should try next.”
Instead of “I can’t,” introduce them to the power of “yet.
  • “I can’t do this.. yet,” “This doesn’t work…yet,” “I don’t know how to….yet,” “I’m not good at the…yet

Based on our research and suggestions from our educators, we have compiled great books that can introduce “growth mindset” to children. 

Here are our top picks:

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