This article seeks to discuss and compare ta growth mindset and fixed mindset, review strategies, and merit in the classroom. Finally, explain how these strategies encourage student motivation and promote a positive classroom environment.

Discuss and Compare

Fixed Mindset — Students believe their skills, talents, and overall intelligence are fixed traits. They may resist learning and trying to improve, typically feeling embarrassed when not understanding something.

Growth Mindset — Students know they can develop their skills and talents through effort and persistence and be receptive to lessons and feedback. They generally believe they can improve through hard work and trying new learning methods.

                                                                                       (Guido, 2018, para. 4-5)

Carol Dweck first posited the self-imposed belief system of mindsets. Scott, 2019 states Dweck posits that people believe their intelligence is fixed and cannot change in a fixed mindset. Because of this belief, they are not working to develop or improve their traits or qualities. Further, to pursue the effort to the endeavor of self-improvement is unnecessary. Whereas, with a growth mindset, people believe time and experience lend to growth, and they can become smarter with effort. Therefore, they will put in the time to realize these successes. 

He suggests from her studies that a person should embrace their weaknesses. They should view challenges as opportunities and know their style of learning.  It is crucial to accept that people change as they age and the need to learn and set goals or define a purpose for learning. 

When a person meets a goal, they should reward themselves for their accomplishments and not their traits. 

It is also vital to give and reive criticism well, not feel bad or guilty if the improvement is needed or not attained; it does not mean failure. Other things needed are reflection, learning from their or other people’s mistakes, being persistent, persevering, and setting aside time for learning.

Strategies and Merit

Teaching strategies, according to Guido, (2018), include:

1) Do not praise a student’s intelligence and effort. Instead, acknowledge planning and new approaches students employ through feedback. Why? Because it will help students recognize the need for development.

2) Use multiple teaching approaches and methods. In other words, differentiate instruction. Examples would include using various mediums such as video and audio clips, and hands-on inventory. Other examples would include paring students together or in groups, use problem and project-based projects with alternative assessments.

According to Dweck, exposing students to different instructional methods and strategies will help build a repertoire of learning skills to handle diverse challenges. Why? Because it creates equity in the classroom, and it addresses each student’s needs to mark a way for successful student learning and a positive classroom environment.

Table 1: Graphic is a glance of strategies to foster a growth mindset culture in the classroom in Guido 2018

3) Use technology such as games or other interactive that track progress instead of an error. Instead, use technology that removes students from standard grading such as A-F.  For example, use grading terms such as Wow! or 30 gold points, etc. Why? When kids see their improvements, they crave to see and do more in a way that engages them or makes them feel good.

4)Teach challenges are opportunities. Talking to students about the benefits that challenges bring in the way of opportunities will support their growth mindset. Let kids know, pushing past doubt and fear is a significant and uncomfortable step.  As educators, we can help students by modeling failure and success through stories, showing them our failed work models such as robots that did not work, or a design built with significant errors. Use failures as teaching opportunities and illustrate the positive ways to handle the struggle. Why? Because the brain reacts positively and rewires itself. Point of fact, neurons form strong, and these connections improve intelligence over time. This circumstance means difficult tasks help students improve intelligence.

5)Ask open-ended questions. Ask open-ended questions so kids can express themselves. This approach will establish what they know and what gaps in knowledge they have. Also, give them time to respond. Often time teachers rush students. Also, at the end of an activity, give kids time to reflect and discuss this reflection with others.

6)Explain the purpose of a concept by connecting real-world learning to it. Connecting students to real-world scenarios through a problem and project-based activities that require experimenting, design, and engineering are good ways to explore questions like what, how, and why.  Why? Because connecting kids to learning will take a concept from being abstract to being concrete. Naturally, it makes meaning of it.

7)It requires students to keep a notebook.  Notebooks are not pre-formatted forms. A notebook is a tool to help students work through problems, set goals, and make lists of reminders. Notebooks do not have to be paper and pen. Notebooks can be done online or recorded.  

Keeping a notebook allows children to learn about the SMART method of goal making. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.  Why? Because keeping a notebook or recording for posterity, the work, and tasks completed embodies a growth mindset in that it helps them work towards something, and it provides a way to see their progress and reflect upon it.

8) Use “yet” statements. Instead of “I can’t do math,” correct the student and say, “you mean, I can’t do that math problem, yet.”  Why? Because it changes negative phrases to positive “can-do” phrases, and it teaches persistence and perseverance.

9)Poor performance happens, so change the language. Struggling students often are eager to condemn themselves; however, teachers can change their language. They can view students’ struggles as an opportunity to improve. Why? Because struggling students need encouragement and positive phrasing indicates the need to develop in a supportive manner.  Below are some examples.  

Fixed Mindset                                     Growth Mindset

It’s as good as it’s going to get           There’s room to improve with the right approach

This is just too difficult                       Time to try some strategies we learned

I made another mistake                       Just another chance to learn

This’ll get the marks I need                I can add more to this answer

I’m not good at this topic                    I’m not good at this topic yet

 (Guido, 2018)

10)Have students document their success. Students can document their journey through developing a folder, scrapbooking, or whatever is appropriate. Students should review this periodically so they can remember their struggles and achievements. Why? Because it provides students with evidence of their growth. This growth also provides positive student motivation and classroom environment.

Student Motivation and Classroom Environment

“Empirical studies have revealed that growth mindset has positive effects on student motivation and academic performance.” (Ng, 2018, para.8)

A growth mindset generates positive attitudes students have about their studies and the world they live in, and it motivates students to participate actively. This effort pays off in academic performance. It removes students from just getting by or keeping the status quo to feel energized by the work and tasks ahead. This synergy translates into the classroom environment for a positive effect.

Final Thoughts

A fixed mindset can slow or hamper learning opportunities, whereas a growth mindset can help develop skills through persistence. There are multiple strategies a teacher can employ to encourage students towards a growth mindset based on research. A growth mindset has shown to motivate student development of skills and talents and assist in creating a positive environment for learning.


Guido, M. (2018, May 4). 10 Ways to Instill a Growth Mindset in Students | Prodigy. Prodigy.

Ng, B. (2018). The Neuroscience of Growth Mindset and Intrinsic Motivation. Brain

Sciences8(2), 20.

Steve Scott. (2019, April 24). Develop Good Habits.

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