Wednesday, May 16, 2018
As most of you know, some students suffer from the "fixed mindset"--the notion that intelligence is fixed and that nothing can be done to overcome this. Those who suffer from this malady usually fail in school because they see no reason to work hard. However, scientists have debunked the fixed mindset. Instead, they think that intelligence is fluid. It can be improved with hard work using the proper methods.
Commentary on the fixed and growth mindsets usually focuses on the poor performing students. However, it can also exert a pernicious effect on highly performing students. Students who succeed with little effort believe that this is due to their innate intelligence (the fixed mindset). Thus, they don't tackle tasks that require hard work. Also, when they don't succeed at something, they don't see their lack of effort as the problem, but rather something else, such as a poorly designed test or a poor teacher. I hope you see that teachers need to help students with this type of fixed mindset as much as they do the other type. Any type of fixed mindset is an impediment to learning.
Related to this is the notion that learning can only take place in the classroom. This notion is an impediment to self-regulated learning. Learning can take place anywhere, at anytime. We also must help our students develop the attitude that they need to become self-regulated learners.
The best book on the growth mindset is by Carol Dweek. My books, Think Like a Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals, A Companion to Torts: How to Think Like a Torts Lawyer, and Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer, are intended to help law students become self-regulated learners.