School News & Blog

October 30, 2020

How a Growth Mindset aligns with the SOTE philosophy

Primary teacher Sarah Namour was inspired to write this piece after attending a professional development event based on the research of Carol Dweck.


At The School of Total Education our philosophy asks us to not dwell on results or to give rewards, in order to teach students (among other things) that the process of achieving a goal is equally as important as the goal itself. This is because it helps us develop our character, and to see a challenge as an opportunity for growth.


In a TED talk by Carol Dweck a researcher of the ‘Growth Mindset,’ she talks about those who are more likely to be open to learning and ultimately achieving, are those who have a positive attitude towards challenges. With a growth mindset, which is nurtured with the idea of ‘Not Yet’, students realise that they are on a learning curve towards achieving their goal. This helps to foster resilience and persistence when goals are not achieved in an expected time.


She highlights how a focus on results can be hindering especially when students receive a grade with a failure on it, as it can leave them feeling discouraged, often resulting in students accepting the result as a final measure of their capacity.


The effects of a ‘Growth Mindset’ are not only evident in behavior, but there is also a proven difference in brain activity between those who have a growth mindset and see a challenge as a possibility for growth and those with a fixed mindset, who believe that their potential is fixed and limited.

She also mentions that our educational system is producing workers who can’t get through the day without some kind of reward. According to Carol Dweck the best thing parents and educators can do for their children is to teach them to see challenges and mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. They also need to help them enjoy the process of giving their best effort and to see the thrill that exists in choosing to be a lifelong learner. This way students’ sense of confidence and appreciation of their contributions and efforts lies in their own hands, and they are not reliant on the praise and acknowledgement of others.

Ultimately SOTE’s approach, which does not emphasize results, allows for students to value the process and to believe in the possibility of what they can achieve in their own time.