Dr. Esther White
The same researcher, Stanford professor Carol Dweck, has also studied and written about what she calls “mindset.” Dweck has identified two distinct mindsets that we humans seem to have about various challenges of life.
A person exhibiting what she calls a “fixed mindset” is focused on how he or she appears to others and believes that intelligence or ability is set and unable to be developed. With a fixed mindset a person sees challenges as problems to avoid, reacts to hurdles by quitting, views hard work as worthless, and avoids negative criticism.
On the other hand, a person with what is called a “growth mindset” is focused on learning and believes that intelligence or ability can change and that progress can be made. In the growth mindset a person sees challenges as opportunities for progress, reacts to hurdles by trying again and again, views hard work as the way to become proficient, and uses criticism as a stepping stone for growth.
What are the results? In the fixed mindset, achievement is stunted. In the growth mindset, achievement in academics, music, sports, and even social interactions is not limited by but rather improved because of attitude.
Does this research also reflect biblical truths? Indeed, it does—the same concepts of working heartily and of glorying in the Lord and in His abilities rather than in one’s own abilities. The fixed mindset does not submit to the command to work with all of one’s heart; and if we are truly glorying in the Lord, there is no room to have a “fixed mindset” in any area. Once again, we see that all truth is God’s truth.
Interacting with our students in a way that fosters a growth mindset is one of the ways we fulfill our mission—challenging our students to, among other endeavors, embrace God’s truth about work and pursue excellence in each area of life.