When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher Mrs. Wilson seated us around the room in I.Q. order. Only the highest IQ students were allowed to erase the blackboard or carry the flag in the school assembly. Mrs. Wilson believed that your IQ score embodied not just your inborn intelligence, but your character as well. This was my first and most powerful experience with the fixed mindset—the idea that your traits are fixed and that they define you. I have devoted my life to liberating students from this mindset.

Mindset introduces students to a body of research they can use in their lives, especially during this time when challenges are coming at them from every direction. Students struggle with work that is much harder than anything they’ve done before, are in an environment that may seem less supportive and nurturing than before, and. . . . they have to think about college! On top of this, new social challenges (and setbacks) constantly occur. In this context, students find the growth mindset—the idea that your qualities can be developed over time—to be critical to their adjustment. In fact, they often tell me that they use the growth mindset principles on a daily basis to rise to challenges and take on new ones. (more…)