Thanks to Dr. Carol Dweck and her colleagues for their research on students’ attitudes about failure. They questioned why some students rebound and try again while others are devastated by small setbacks. After studying thousands of children, Dr. Dweck came up with the terms Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset to define some thoughts about learning and intelligence.

When children think they can get smarter, and they will put in extra effort to help themselves – this is a Growth Mindset. Dr. JoAnn Deak also said that the brain is malleable and flexible like stretching rubber bands. The more you work at something, the connectivity between neurons increase and change. Dr. Deak’s book, The Fantastic Elastic Brain describes how the brain works and how you can work your brain!

Practice, along with using good strategies, asking questions, and eating and sleeping well do help us become smarter. If you believe your brain can grow, you will increase your motivation and achievement.

The following chart gives examples of what children can be taught to think and say to themselves during times of challenge and frustration. I also think they are wonderful messages adults can use, too.

Growth Mindset statements for everyone!