Series: Expeditionary Learning Deeper Learning

Carol Dweck on Struggle
Lesson Objective: Carol Dweck, psychologist and growth mindset researcher, shares her insights on the approach of Expeditionary Learning
All Grades / All Subjects / Mindset

Thought starters

  1. How can a growth mindset be taught?
  2. How does embracing struggle fit with a growth mindset?
  3. How can a growth mindset build confidence?
Recommended (1)
I find her research on praising children valuable. Because of her research, I have moved away from saying things such as "Wow, you're so smart" to "Wow, you worked really hard on that. I know it was difficult but you didn't give up,"
Recommended (6)
Every parent, teacher and child needs to read Carol Dweck's book Mindset. This video is a great introduction to her transformative work.
Recommended (2)
I latched on to Carol Dweck's research about praising effort over ability several years back, and this vignette speaks to the benefit of intellectual struggle (or disequilibrium, as I call it) that aligns with the journey through critical thinking and problem solving that is the Common Core.
Recommended (3)
People find it worthwhile to struggle with the things they care about. The problem in many classrooms is that students are expected to struggle learning skills and content that are meaningless to them now and, probably , useless in the future. And they know it.
Recommended (3)


  • Carol Dweck on Struggle Transcript

    +++ 00:00:05 +++
    Expert commentary by:
    Carol Dweck

    +++ 00:00:10

    Carol Dweck on Struggle Transcript

    +++ 00:00:05 +++
    Expert commentary by:
    Carol Dweck

    +++ 00:00:10 +++
    Carol Dweck: I'm Carol Dweck. I'm a professor of psychology at Stanford University.

    Lower Third:
    Carol Dweck
    Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
    Author, "Mindset"

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    Carol Dweck: The growth mindset really converges with deeper learning. We have shown in our research that when students have a growth mindset, first of all, they are oriented toward learning. A growth mindset can be taught directly. We have studies where we've taught kids a growth mindset by teaching them that every time they push out of their comfort zone to learn hard new things, their brains form new connections. The neurons in their brains form new connections and over time, they get smarter.

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    Carol Dweck: We show them how to apply that to their schoolwork, and in study after study, we've seen that the kids who learn this growth mindset earn higher grades than a control group. Expeditionary learning really incorporates a lot of my research. Even their motto, "Work hard, get smart, be nice." Work hard and get smart, that is a growth mindset. You're getting smarter through your work.

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    Carol Dweck: There is so much emphasis on the good struggle, the big challenge, kids getting smarter by taking on things maybe they didn't even know they could master and then mastering them. I saw that students were proud of struggling with big, messy problems that they extracted meaning and solutions from, over long periods of time.

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    Carol Dweck: In a fixed mindset, a mistake means, "Forget it. You're no good at this." It measures you. It says you're dumb. But in a growth mindset, that's a natural part of learning. Kids are interested in the mistakes, they're motivated by the mistakes. That's deeper learning. I love the student who was graduating, doing the speech. He said, "I am saying hello to the rest of my life, to my new life, based on what I learned here." He felt so empowered to go out
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    there, but he knew that with this love of challenge, this taking on of difficult tasks and the tools he had learned to see that through with, that he could do well in any new setting. Every year, they are getting 100 percent of their students into college, so their approach is working. It's working to give kids a sense of purpose, a sense that they can contribute to
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    society, and a sense that they have what it takes to meet a difficult and uncertain future, because they've done it over and over and over in that school.
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All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture