What Are Mindsets.pdf

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The following material comes from the website of Dr. Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University and a pioneering researcher in the study of motivation. For more information, visit mindsetonline.com. The Mindsets Mindsets are beliefs—beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. Think about your intelligence, your talents, your personality. Are these qualities simply fixed traits, carved in stone and that ʼ s that? Or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life? People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just givens. They have a certain amount of brains and talent and nothing can change that. If they have a lot, they ʼ re all set, but if they don ʼ t... So people in this mindset worry about their traits and how adequate they are. They have something to prove to themselves and others. People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, see their qualities as things that can be developed through their dedication and effort. Sure they ʼ re happy if they ʼ re brainy or talented, but that ʼ s just the starting point. They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things—not Mozart, Darwin, or Michael Jordan—without years of passionate practice and learning. Why do people differ? Since the dawn of time, people have thought differently, acted differently, and fared differently from each other. It was guaranteed that someone would ask the question of why people differed, why some people are smarter or more moral – and whether there was something that made them permanently different. Experts lined up on both sides. Some claimed that there was a strong physical basis for these differences, making them unavoidable and unalterable. Through the ages these alleged physical differences have included bumps on the skull (phrenology), the size and shape of the skull (craniology), and, today, genes. Others pointed to the strong differences in people ʼ s backgrounds, experiences, training, or ways of learning. It may surprise you to know that a big champion of this view was Alfred Binet, the inventor of the IQ test. Wasn ʼ t the IQ test meant to summarize children ʼ s unchangeable intelligence? In fact, no. Binet, a Frenchman working in Paris in the early 20th century, designed this test to identify children who were not profiting from the Paris public schools, so that new educational programs could be designed to get them back on track. Without denying individual differences in children ʼ s intellects, he believed that education and practice could bring about fundamental changes in intelligence. Here is a quote from one of his major books, Modern Ideas About Children, in which he summarizes his work with hundreds of children with learning difficulties:
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“A few modern philosophers assert that an individual's intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism .... With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our
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