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Habits of Mind

Our School's Approaches to Learning

At the Academy we want our student and adult learners to possess a “growth mindset” versus a “fixed mindset."

In a Fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities­­ like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a Growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.    

Mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads. They guide the whole interpretation process. The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging: “This means I’m a loser” or “This means I’m a better person than they are.”

People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve?

With a growth mindset the focus is on… Putting in work and not being “smart”. Praising the hard work and not being smart or intelligent Struggle is a fantastic word! Praise struggle!

More Resources

Learn more about Growth Mindset, according to Dr. Carol Dweck.


TED Talk: "The power of believing that you can improve" by Dr. Carol Dweck