Big Ideas for Coaches

Promoting a Growth Mindset


You, forward-thinking school leader, have laid your best plans for developing your staff. Instructional coaches: check. Comprehensive teaching rubric: check. But unless you can move the needle on mindset, you won't make much progress.

"Mindset" is Carol Dweck's term to describe the spectrum of attitudes that people have towards their ability to improve. Folks with a growth mindset will be able to make changes more quickly because they fundamentally think of their abilities as plastic and trainable. Folks with a fixed mindset will make less progress because they think they are already as a skillful or creative as they're ever going to be.

Promoting a culture of growth mindset among your staff will be essential if you are going to realize your goals for staff development. And it's going to take more than a few robust high fives (but high fives don't hurt).

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Additional Resources

"Mindset: The New Psychology of Success"

"Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success—but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals—personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area."

Related Minis

Reducing Fixed Mindset Behaviors

Step one to promoting growth mindset: cutting down on behaviors that prevent teachers from taking critical feedback.

How Teacher Development Happens

Promoting growth mindset is just one of three domains a school leader will attend to in order to help her staff grow.