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Priming Mindsets for Learning

I have talked before about inexpensive ways to increase learning (here and here). This is a personal passion of mine both as an educator and as a corporate training consultant. In both of these domains, inexpensive and effective are both essential, uncompromisable metrics.

Here is another example for you. I am sure many of you are familiar with Carol Dweck’s wonderful work on mindsets. Not only does her model of growth and fixed mindsets describe an important trait, it is also something that can be primed in students or trainees. And with remarkable effect. Brainpickings has one of the best summaries of her work.

One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality. A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way… A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.

My Take

The point that I want to bring out today is that this can be used to prime students to learn more and better. And all it takes is some framing at the start of the course and/or class meeting and then again when giving feedback. Just words. We often say that words are cheap. But in this case, they are an inexpensive way to accelerate learning.

Your Turn

Are you already familiar with Mindsets? Do you use them in your training or teaching? With your children? Please share your experiences. No hard data required.

Image credit: geralt

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