Developing a Common Understanding of Growth Mindset

If you were to create a top 10 list of this year’s professional conversations about teaching and learning, we’re pretty sure that Carol Dweck’s work on Growth Mindset would be at  the top of the list.  When any topic becomes that popular, there are bound to be as many misunderstandings about the research as deep understandings, so why not design your next PLC to explore Growth Mindset using an Inquiry Based / Growth Mindset format?

Before you and your colleagues meet, ask each colleague to submit a statement and a question about Growth Mindset. Once the responses arrive, organize the questions and statements into categories. Chances are, the categories will range from definitions, to research, to classroom applications.

Next, plan at least three PLC sessions focused on Growth Mindset. In the first session, give one category to each small group and provide time for groups to do some research about the comments and questions in that category.

Our conversation about Growth Mindset is a comfortable place to get started.

Moving on from our thoughts, you might want to check out  Carol Dweck’s keynote from Education Week’s Leaders to Learn event held in Washington, D.C. on March 11, 2016.

Next, allow time for an independent search of popular and research based text and videos provides a wealth of information (and misinformation) about Growth Mindset.

Save Carol Dweck Explains The Growth Mindset that Worries Her  for the final read.

In the second session of the Growth Mindset PLC, ask each group to decide on a new and unfamiliar presentation style with which to share their information about Growth Mindset. The purpose of this is to encourage the members of each group to confront their feelings of  “I can’t . . . ” by focusing on “How do I go about . . .” For some groups, unfamiliar presentation styles may be dance, song, film, or animation. For other groups unfamiliar presentation styles may include debate, formal lecture, role play, or designing a valid and reliable test.

The third session is reserved for the presentations AND a debrief of how each group confronted the challenge of approaching and overcoming their initial reservations about their chosen presentation style.

In the end, you’ll have created a shared understanding of Growth Mindset and information about strategies for approaching new tasks from of perspective of possibility rather than problem. This will lead to a plan of action to make Growth Mindset a natural and integral component of learning in the classroom, in PLCs, and in meetings with parents.

For more conversations about education, please visit:Beyond the Apple . . . Reframing Conversations in Education or contact us at

About Beyond The Apple

Beyond the Apple provides everything a Professional Learning Community needs! Designed to follow Beyond the Apple's Tenets of Adult Education, our videos re-ignite the excitement of professional conversations among educators in the classroom, university, colleges and professional training. Our free teaching and learning resources provide a follow up with more information that is current, research based and practical.
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