Mindset (2006) by Carol Dweck

OK, so this book is not new, but I have just discovered it. I’ve never been one to read self-help, or how-to books or  . . .  I primarily read fiction. There is nothing like escaping a hard day’s work by plunging into a finely written novel.

But this book is different.

When the idea of a Growth vs Fixed mindset was first introduced to me a couple of years ago at an assessment workshop, I bought into it completely – after all, what would be the purpose of teaching if you didn’t think your students could improve? But it wasn’t until a colleague highly recommended it to me this year that I finally bought it. And now I’m buying or recommending it for everyone I know.

Why? I have never read a book that has made me reflect on my entire life the way this one has. The content has been thoroughly researched by University of Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, but it is also full of anecdotes (ah, the literary note) about relationships and attitudes. I have thought about my role as mother, wife, sister, step-mother, grandmother, teacher, colleague, friend, and daughter (I think that is all of them). The week before last I was sipping coffee on a very comfortable couch in the early morning at my friend’s “cabin” in Whistler; it was totally quiet, and I would read a passage, then gaze out the window at my verdant surroundings, thinking of different aspects of my life, both past and present. Let me share a couple of excerpts from her book:

For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life . . . Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow?  And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.  This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. (pp. 6-7)

You see why I like the book?


About phansenvsb

I am passionate about teaching reading and writing to a diverse audience from those experiencing challenges in reading and writing to those who seek deep enrichment in literature and its connections to the world in which it was written and to the present day. I also present workshops on assessment for learning, differentiated instruction, literature circles, disciplinary literacy, and inquiry.
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