Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

What is one of the most important aspects of SEL? Well, before this turns into a whole debate, one of the most important aspects of SEL is having a growth mindset. Now what does it mean to have a growth mindset? Having a growth mindset means that you believe that you are always learning and growing. A growth mindset allows you to find learning opportunities after making mistakes. It also allows you to believe that skills, talents, and intelligence (both emotional and academic) can grow and evolve as new information is presented. 

In opposition to a growth mindset is a fixed mindset, where people feel as if they cannot learn or grow their skills. A fixed mindset sets people up for failure in many aspects as many people only complete tasks that they already know they can succeed at. Fixed mindsets also prevent people from learning from their mistakes and failures because a fixed mindset sees failures as exactly that instead of a time to learn and make improvements for next time. A growth mindset allows people to see failure and mistakes as opportunities for change, improvement, or new strategies the next time they need to complete a similar task. 

Having a growth mindset allows one to recognize that the yelling match they had with their coworker might not have been the best way to get their point across, so the next time they have a disagreement they might try calmly telling their coworker they do not agree instead of yelling. A growth mindset allows one to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations such as learning that something they said was mean and hurt someone’s feelings – teaching them empathy and helping them recognize others emotions. However, a growth mindset also allows you to go outside your comfort zone such as making new friends or trying new things.

Having a growth mindset also allows you to better practice your SEL skills, as one can always improve their skill sets. With all of this information in mind we wanted to provide you with a few articles explaining the importance of having a growth mindset – especially in our ever changing world.

  • Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset: How what you think affects what you achieve by Jennifer Smith at Mindset Health
    • This short article explains the difference between a growth and fixed mindset, as well as the importance of having a growth mindset and how to nurture a growth mindset.
  • Using Retakes to Nurture Growth Mindset by Kimberly Hellerich at Edutopia
    • This article discusses the importance of allowing students to redo assignments and retake tests/quizzes that they got a poor grade on to nurture a growth mindset as it allows students to learn from their mistakes.
  • Understanding and Inspiring a Growth Mindset—4 Ways to Get Started by  Kim Gulbrandson at Committee for Children
    • This article briefly explains what a growth mindset is and how to foster it in children of all ages. 
  • What is growth mindset? by Amanda Morin at Understood
    • This article explains what a growth mindset is, provides tips and tricks on inspiring a growth mindset. This article also busts some myths surrounding growth mindset and the difference between growth mindset and learning difficulties.
  • Young Adult Novels That Teach a Growth Mindset by Robert Ward at Edutopia
    • This article provides “novels to teach learning from loss and overcoming adversity to your middle schoolers and high school freshmen.”


Remember, a mistake is not failure, but a new opportunity to learn and improve. 

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