Growth Mindset

The term “growth mindset” comes from the groundbreaking work of Carol Dweck. She identified everyone holds ideas about their own potential. Some people believe that their intelligence is more or less fixed and in math – that you can do math or you can’t. About 40% of students have these damaging “fixed mindset” ideas. Another 40% have a “growth mindset” – they believe that they can learn anything and that their intelligence can grow. The other 20% waver between the two mindsets.

Students with a fixed mindset are those who are more likely to give up easily, whereas students with a growth mindset are those who keep going even when work is hard, and who are persistent. The two mindsets are associated with different achievement pathways as the papers on this page show. It is possible to change mindsets – my student online class which can be accessed under courses – has been shown to shift students’ mindsets from fixed to growth and cause higher mathematics achievement. There are a range of resources on this page – a poster of math norms, a strategizer card with lots of teaching ideas, a short video to boost students’ mindset, and some interesting short papers.

A summary of ways to create a mathematical mindset classroom– thanks to Shelah Feldstein and Christine Roberts for their help!

Here is an edition of our popular Positive Classroom Norms Poster, created for classrooms in the UK.

Download the summary page from “Positive Classroom Norms” to post in your classroom!

Jo’s 7 favorite messages to set positive classroom norms– the last page is a summary you can post in class!

This is a short (5 minute) clip showing new brain evidence that all students can learn math to high levels.

This short paper summarizes five research findings that address the myth that only some students can do well in math.

Jo describes what math classrooms should look like in 2 pages that may be useful to give to parents/administrators.  

A paper by Jo that with some important ideas about mathematics messages and the opening of tasks.

Interview with Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education, Stanford University. SCOPE Brown Bag Speaker 2012-13.