Adopting a growth mindset

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Learning is faster and easier

Learning is faster and easier when you receive detailed feedback that tells you precisely where you went wrong and what you should have done instead (Dehaene, 2021). However, for the feedback to be effective you have to adopt a “growth mindset” (Dweck, 2006).

A “growth mindset” means that you accept that ability in any domain can be improved by small steps, and that feedback shows the way to improve. In other words, you accept that your future potential is not limited by your current performance. You can improve, and with work, you will improve.

Dweck contrasts a growth mindset with a “fixed mindset”. A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is fixed, stable, permanent and cannot be altered however hard you work. A very common phrase demonstrating a fixed mindset is “I’m no good at numbers. I’m no good at maths”. A fixed mindset reduces learning because the student believes they will not improve and so they do work at this skill or knowledge, which in turn means they do not improve, and their negative attitude is confirmed.

All learners have to make efforts and the best learners are not afraid of making mistakes or errors. They understand that negative feedback is even more valuable than positive feedback because it shows them where to focus their efforts to improve.

Adopt a growth mindset, work hard after setbacks or at challenges and you will be rewarded!


Dehaene, S. (2021). How we learn: The new science of education and the brain. Penguin.

Dweck, C. (2016). Mindset: The new psychology of success (2nd ed.). Ballentine.