The New Culture of Learning

The mind of learning

Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck coined the phrase “growth mindset” as the belief that you can develop your abilities, and then watched as the term took hold as a meme for motivation on playgrounds and in classrooms across America.

Now she’s worried about its misapplication: Teachers who use growth mindset as a shorthand without understanding it; parents who attempt to teach a growth mindset by haranguing kids to try harder; schools that assume they can measure growth mindsets by asking teachers and students to grade how they handle adversity and solve complex problems.

Less than a decade after the publication of Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” research by her and others is flourishing, gamers are creating growth mindset games and school districts are paying attention to what are often referred to as “soft skills,” such as social emotional learning or non-cognitive skills like perseverance and self-control.

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