Academic Mindsets for Learner Success

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What are Academic Mindsets?

Academic Mindsets are four key beliefs which deeply influence our behaviors as learners, and which enable learning success.  These mindsets affect our motivation, strategies, and perseverance.  They are:

  1. I belong in this learning community.
  2. I can change my abilities through effort (a growth mindset).
  3. I can succeed.
  4. This work has value and purpose for me.

Is my school's culture conducive to developing Academic Mindsets?

Check out our Mindset Assessments to receive feedback on your school’s culture from an Academic Mindsets lens.

Mindsets can be learned and taught!  How?

Academic Mindsets can be developed.  Teaching students about how the brain grows with effective effort makes a big difference.  So does teaching growth-minded strategies.  Here are some additional tools and resources: 
  • TEDed Unit on Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets
  • Brainology: Mindset Works' blended learning curriculum for teaching growth mindsets and malleable intelligence.
  • You Can Grow Your Intelligence: article from the original research study with New York City middle school students that served as the inspiration for Brainology (Blackwell, et al 2007.)
  • MindsetMaker™: a Mindset Works professional development course that provides teachers with knowledge and tools to embrace a growth mindset and support it in the classroom every day.
  • Mindset: the seminal book by Dr. Carol Dweck about how mindsets affect success and motivation, see 
How can I share this idea?    Share this page!  Printable PDF
Many schools begin by reflecting on adult  and classroom mindsets (you can use the MindsetMaker™ to guide you); then they explore strategies and methods for changing thinking and practice at a classroom level.  Consider sharing and discussing some of these resources with your colleagues and school leaders.  
Share videos:
TEDx Talk by Eduardo Briceno: The Power of Belief
Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets
Videos on the Mindset Works blog
Share articles:
New York Magazine article: How Not to Talk to Your Kids
Principal Leadership article: Mindsets and Equitable Education
EdWeek Article:   Growth Mindset Gaining Traction As School Improvement Strategy
Mindset Works Blog: The Power of Mistakes: Creating a Risk-Tolerant Culture at School and Home
Read more articles
Share tools and resources:
Growth Mindset feedback and framing
Effective Effort Rubric
The Two Mindsets by Nigel Homes
Brainology Posters
Mindset Intro for Parents
Share research:
U. of Chicago CCSR's Review on Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners
Brainology Impact Summary
Reducing Stereotype Threat


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