Growth Mindset

Learn About Mindset

Mindsets are very important, especially for underrepresented students. In computing, women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities are all underrepresented. Fostering a growth mindset with students helps improve achievement for all students, but especially for underrepresented students.

Activity: Understand Your Mindset

Take the brief mindset survey online, about 2-3 minutes. Note: this survey is about mindset in general, but people often have fixed mindsets in one area and growth mindsets in another.

Fostering a Growth Mindset

Consider what you've learned about mindsets. Do you have more of a fixed or growth mindset or is it a combination? What kind of mindset do you think your students have? What statements do you make to promote fixed or growth mindsets?

Here are some examples of statements you might make in the classroom that could be re-framed to promote a growth mindset. NCWIT also has a tip sheet, 8 Ways to Give Students More Effective Feedback Using a Growth Mindset.

Growth Mindset and Programming

Did you know that developing one skill can help develop the other? A two-part blog series by Kristin Villanueva discusses how having a growth mindset can help you learn to code and how learning to code can help you develop a growth mindset. Check out Part 1 How Having a Growth Mindset Can Help You Learn to Code and Part 2 How Learning to Code Can Help You Develop a Growth Mindset.

Reflection Activity

Consider the following questions:

  • At some point, you may have a student that is struggling with a problem and they say "I just can't get it! I'm too dumb to learn to program." What are some things you could say in response to the student that reflect a growth mindset?

  • Encouraging a growth mindset is often confused with simply encouraging students to work harder. It's more complex and nuanced than that, though. Instead of working harder, students often need to know how to use their time better or where to focus their efforts. How might you change your feedback to students to focus on where they could improve on the process?

  • Part of growth mindset is truly believing that every student can be successful in this course. What are ways you could reinforce this message with your students?