I took the opportunity to ask him if my hypothesis in my post Tough Call is correct. That is, can we help our students develop the social-cognitive skills alongside the critical thinking, literacy, numeracy and other skills we expect to deliver in the classroom?
Paul pointed me instead to the concept of mindset, and specifically to Carol Dweck’s work on fixed and growing mindsets. The idea, in the realm of positive psychology, is that our mindsets occupy a point on a spectrum from fixed to growing. People with fixed mindsets believe that their abilities are inherent and cannot be improved upon. People with growth mindsets believe that they can improve their performance (in school, athletics, business, etc.) through hard work, tenacity, learning and training.
Our self-concept of our mindset translates into our performance. High achievers tend to have a growth mindset. They believe that they can influence and control their destinies, and see failure as an opportunity to learn as opposed to a reflection on their abilities.
Mindset is something one can change. Further, we can teach students how to move from a fixed to a growth mindset.
I’ll be engaging our College to Careers team, and specifically Career Planning and Placement, in discussions on what we may do with this. Contributions and ideas from all are, as always, welcome.