Having posted summaries of the first two chapters of Mindset, I’d like to post some questions that came to mind about the book. Please respond with what you think about these issues. I would love to hear your ideas.
Topics for discussion:
- The main idea of these chapters is an illustration of the concepts of fixed mindset and growth mindset. Do you find these definitions valid? What examples of these mindsets have you seen in students, colleagues, or in yourself? How have these mindsets been productive or destructive in your own experience?
- What is the definition of “intelligence”? How is the word “intelligence” defined or used in this work and how does that definition align or fail to align with your own definition? How does the way we define intelligence affect the way we approach student success or failure in the classroom?
- The author refers to Alfred Binet, creator of the IQ test. How are IQ scores used today that might be different from the way they were used when the test was created? Are our current concepts of IQ valid? How do these concepts relate to Dweck’s ideas about mindset?
- Dweck states that having the growth mindset does not mean that everything can be changed or that everything that can be changed should be changed. What are some examples of that idea that are relevant to the classroom?
- What does it mean to be smart? How do teachers define it; how do students define it; and how do those definitions differ? Is “smartness” the same as “intelligence”? How can teachers affect students’ ideas of what “smart” means?
- Dweck discusses Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion that our society values “effortless accomplishment over achievement through effort” (41). In Gladwell’s 2008 book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he puts forth what he calls the “10,000-Hour Rule”. He quotes neurologist Daniel Levitin: “…ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything . . . no one has yet found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery.” (Qtd in Gladwell 40). Discuss this concept in relation to Dweck’s ideas about mindset and effort. How can we apply these ideas in the classroom?
Dweck, Carol, S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006.
Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2008.