Fostering a Growth Mindset in the Classroom


Designed by Nick Nenno

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Overview and Purpose

Curriculum Map

The primary goal of this mini-course is to help participants to adopt and promote different growth mindset practices in the classroom. Throughout your participation in this course, participants will learn about the personal and professional development of a growth mindset. This mini-course will focus on three main ideas: learning how to embody a growth mindset, communicating with a growth mindset, and fostering a growth mindset in others. Participants will work through transformative activities, and applications will help the individuals positively influence the world surrounding them on a daily basis. They will challenge themselves look closely into their personal behaviors, communication styles, motivation techniques, and routine activities to improve current practices.


1. Developing a growth mindset

Participants must learn the essential qualities of a growth mindset. To communicate or foster a growth mindset a teacher must first operate their classroom with growth mindset qualities.

2. Communicating with a growth mindset

After a teacher learns how to embody a growth mindset, they need to project a growth mindset. The goal is for learners to improve how they communicate with students. This means changing motivational techniques used to improve a student's academic behavior, mindset, and perseverance.

3. Fostering a growth mindset into others

Fostering a growth mindset is the last and most important aspect of this mini-course. In this module, participants will learn how to transfer growth mindset techniques and be previewed to lessons that will help to inspire this attitude among his or her students.

Performance Objectives

Objective #1: Mini-course participant will identify three key character traits of a specific person with a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

Objective #2: Mini-course participant will transform key three language habits that may be currently promoting a fixed mindset within their work setting.

Objective #3: Mini-course participant will develop specific routine techniques that will promote a growth mindset approach to learning.

Instructional Problem

Recent Common Core initiatives have placed a greater emphasis on rigor and higher standards. However, there is still limited data that suggests more students will graduate high school as a result of these new expectations. Policy efforts seem to be dependent on the inclusion of more rigor to improve student efficiency.

"In addition to measuring students’ content knowledge and core academic skills, grades also reflect the degree to which students have demonstrated a range of academic behaviors, attitudes, and strategies that are critical for success in school and in later life, including study skills, attendance, work habits, time management, help-seeking behaviors, metacognitive strategies, and social and academic problem-solving skills that allow students to successfully manage new environments and meet new academic and social demands (Conley,2007; Farkas, 2003; Paris & Winograd, 1990)."

The University of Chicago CCSR published a 2012 literature review exploring the role of noncognitive factors that shape school performance. The article references five categories of noncognitive factors related to academic performance. Academic behavior, mindset, and perseverance are among these factors.

Teaching Adolescents To Become Learners

The review explains that cognitive learning gaps have often been the focus of childhood education factors. The article references five categories of noncognitive factors related to academic performance. Academic behavior, mindset, and perseverance are among these factors. Fostering a Growth Mindset in the classroom will be used to improve these non-cognitive factors related to academic performance. These habits need to develop in critical adolescence development periods for students to acquire these essential non-cognitive skills. Students need to feel that they belong, that they can grow, and that the work they do is valuable.

Factors Measured by Test Scores versus Grades

Learner Profile

The primary learners in this course will be Elementary and Secondary school employees that have regular interaction with student learners. This course is mostly geared toward participants who have regular teaching interactions this includes general education teachers, administrative staff, teaching aides, substitute teachers, and special any subject teachers. Participants need to look at their current teaching methods with both honesty and openness. For personal and professional growth to occur, participants must understand that everyone can improve, and mastery is not possible for any one person. This class represents a constant commitment to grow and improve.

General Prerequisites

1. Ability to self-reflect on recent teaching experiences.

2. multiple classroom teaching experiences.

3. Ability to navigate the internet

Supporting Prerequisites

1. Willingness to improve upon current methods.

2. Ability to use "back button"; ability to open links in a new tab using the command (Mac)/control (PC)feature.

Materials Needed for Success

Personal Reflection Journal (Notebook)
This notebook can be in paper form or created from any Google document.

An optional PDF packet is available below. This document can be used to guide you through the questioning in all three units of study.

Course Journal HERE!

Course Units

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Module 1: Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

Participants must learn the essential qualities of a growth mindset. To communicate or foster a growth mindset a teacher must first operate their classroom with growth mindset qualities.

  1. Determine your Classroom Mindset
  2. Learn about Mindset
  3. Explore Real World Examples to Identify Character Traits of a Growth Mindset
  4. Research Empirical studies and Academic Articles

Application Module 1: Identifying Mindset Traits

Participants will apply their understanding of growth and fixed mindset.

  1. Identify the unique character traits of a fixed mindset.
  2. Identify the unique character traits of a growth mindset.

Module 2: Communicating with a Growth Mindset

In order to foster a growth mindset we must learn to adapt our language so that it matches the principles we are trying to promote.

  1. Develop specific student praise techniques
  2. Identify specific classroom feedback techniques
  3. Reflect and change classroom dialog habits

Application Module 2: Self-Reflection of Communication Skills

Participants will self-reflect on their on communication skills.

  1. Identify current communication techniques
  2. Identify future feedback techniques

Module 3: Fostering a Growth Mindset

How do we foster a growth mindset in our students? Strategies and techniques for success.

  1. Identify the features of a growth-minded classroom
  2. Teach, promote, and encourage Growth Mindset attitudes
  3. Research and Develop Growth Mindset anchor activities

Mini-Course in Review: Conclusion of Objectives
Reviewing what we learned.

  1. Summary of objectives
  2. Closing thoughts

Academic Resources

Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (January 01, 2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: a longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78, 1.)

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.

Dweck, C. S., & Leggett, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256–273.

Dweck, C.S, & Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2014) Academic Tenacity: Mindsets and Skills that Promote Long-Term Learning.

Famington, C. A. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners: The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance : a critical literature review. Chicago: University of Chicago, Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Hidden curriculum (2014, August 26). In S. Abbott (Ed.), The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from

Meacham, M. (2014, September 10). The Growth Mindset Starts in the Brain. Retrieved May 13, 2016, from

Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.

Sansone, C., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The search for optimal motivation and performance. San Diego: Academic Press.

"The Science: Growth Mindset." Mindset Works. January 1, 2014. Accessed April 30th, 2016.


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