The Potential of a “C”: Developing a Growth Mindset

Children happily learning a new skill

Growth mindset

What we think about our ability to learn matters

What we think about our ability to learn matters. Believing that we can only learn a fixed amount, or that others can only learn a fixed amount, does not offer anyone the opportunity to grow.  Without the belief that we can learn and grow, a “C” student can never become an “A” student.

In a 4th grade class in a Boston public school, a teacher once told me3 out of 27 students in her class had the potential to learn. How could she know that? The students were 9 and 10 years old. How did she know what they could achieve? What was her role in their success? Professionals convey their fixed mindset to their students and clients, so how much of her belief was she passing on to her students every day that she taught them? We all have limits, but we don’t know where those limits lie, especially in children.  A fixed mindset doesn’t allow us the opportunity to explore and grow and discover the hidden talents that may lie dormant. Whether it is the teacher or the student, a fixed mindset stops children from fully developing.

A growth mindset, on the other hand,  fosters a different view.  A “C” is not a set destination, but a launching point.  Couldn’t that “C” be the result of amazing hard work? A growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be developed through hard work. Learning is a lifelong endeavor. We will need to learn at work, at home and in a variety of educational settings throughout our lives. Developing a growth mindset in people with ADHD, dyslexia,  speech disabilities, and other language impairments, in addition to working with professionals with a growth mindset, is essential for the best possible outcomes for people with learning challenges.

Below is my favorite Ted Talk on growth mindset. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN34FNbOKXc

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