I found a resource in Tomorrow’s Professor eNewsletter that would be a good resource for both the instructor and the student. It may be a beneficial tool to help student motivation at the beginning of a course.

The discussion is about two different individual mindsets: fixed and growth. A learning mindset is one’s own view of his/her capability to learn, and is often formed around middle-school age.
The fixed mindset individual believes that he/she has limited, or fixed, intelligence. The individuals with fixed mindset erroneously believe that if they have to work hard on a subject that they aren’t intelligent or as capable as others in a subject. The growth mindset individual will instead take learning risks, understanding that hard work and failures contribute to learning. An example of the growth mindset of Albert Einstein was given: It took over 700 tries to invent the lightbulb. Instead of seeing 700 failures, Einstein saw proof of 700 ways to not build a lightbulb, with an ultimately successful invention.

The fixed-minded person will give up easily when a course seems daunting. He/she might avoid tutoring, help from the professor, or studying because of belief that the effort is futile. In actuality, according to the chapter, the brain is “malleable” and is capable of constant growth. Intelligence grows as learning takes place and new connections in the brain form.

I agree with the argument that the mind is capable of growth, because it is well-known that maintaining a solid effort, instead of giving up, will improve one’s chances of succeeding in a course. The student would benefit from this idea that he/she can change mindset, and the instructor would benefit from the knowledge that students self-sabotage because of fixed mindset. The instructor could make an effort to facilitate the students learning needs by actually teaching them about the growth mindset learning strategy.


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