Teacher Health and Wellbeing – What does a change in ‘mindset’ mean to teachers?

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By Nicki Allman

How can a change in mindset improve child’s ability to learn new things?

change your mindset

Everyone is unique in how they behave, in their attitudes and experiences. This is a result of having different backgrounds, experiences, learning and training opportunities. Much research indicates that our differences could be down to both nature and nurture. Theorists at either end of the spectrum suggest we are either born with our intelligence and personality traits and cannot change them, or we can change these with practice and effort. However, the implication for educators is whether we can provide children with opportunities to grow and develop, to enhance what they have already got naturally through practice and trying.

Carol Dweck’s pioneering research into this field suggests that each person has a set of beliefs about themselves and the qualities that make them, eg, intelligence, personality and our skills and talents. She suggests that people view their qualities through either a ‘fixed’ or ‘growth’ mindset.

A ‘fixed’ mindset indicates that:
  • There are particular things we are born with and these are fixed traits that are set in stone and cannot be changed.
  • Intelligence, our skills and talents all form part of these traits.
  • It is the skills and talents we have that will enable us to be successful. If we don’t have these skills then we won’t be successful.
  • This leads to a feeling of needing to prove ourselves over and over again. We need to show that we have the intelligence and skills to be successful.
  • It can lead to a feeling of inadequacy if we do not succeed in something, especially if we have the intelligence and skills to do it.
  • It can also lead anxiety with having to prove everything and constantly seeking the opinion of others to affirm our success and achievements.
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