An understanding of growth mindsets comes out of new research that combines developmental psychology, social psychology and personality psychology. The research is based on the belief that our conscious and unconscious thoughts impact our choices and behaviour - and therefore the fostering of growth mindsets directly impacts our learning successes.
A growth mindset is placed as the effective alternative to having a fixed mindset. The implication is that people can choose to develop their mindset to be agile and growth-oriented. A growth enables intelligence to be developed. It embraces challenges, is resilient and grows in tandem with the inspiration of a liked-minded community. The opposite is the fixed mindset, whereby people believe the opposite of the growth mindset - that intelligence is fixed.
A focus on developing a growth mindset is relevant to all members of the community. If the teachers are to catalyse a paradigm shift, there will inevitably be a high level of agility, flexibility and ‘failing-forward’ in order to meet the constant challenges of change. Parents likewise need to be led into a growth mindset. Often the default position for parents struggling to understand their children is to draw back to their own experience as learners. Given the monumental shifts in society since that time, parents need to be on the radar of developing growth mindsets, as much as the learning guides do. Given the context that a growth mindset can be developed, learners need to experience contexts where it can be fostered on a daily basis.
In the context of preparing an ecosystem for change, a growth mindset is critical to embracing the challenges of a paradigm shift. Given that the challenge is to unite a community around a changing paradigm, a growth mindset will enable a process that involves ideation, prototyping and evaluating.