Mindset: Fixed or Growth?

Mindset by Carol Dweck

The entire Newman faculty and staff is reading Carol Dweck’s Mindset this summer as part of our launch into a year of study into learning and the brain. I will be posting thoughts from time to time this summer and sharing some of the insights from our research. We chose Mindset because it is an accessible entry into the world of brain research, and I encourage you to pick up a copy.

The fundamental point that Dweck makes is that “It’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.”

Early in her book, she shares the origins of the IQ test and the work of Alfred Binet. While many have assumed that of all people, Binet must have thought one’s intelligence was fixed, his thoughts are perhaps best expressed through the following quotation:

A few modern philosophers…assert that an individual’s intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and ract against this brutal pessimism…With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally become more intelligent that we were before.

This was surprising to me when I read it, but his conclusions were not. I have seen far too many examples of inspiring teaching and persistent learners who have proven this to be true. I look forward to sharing details and anecdotes from our year of study.

I hope you are enjoying your summer.


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