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Growth Mindset - Podcast episode

Developing a Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset means believing that you can develop in a certain area, rather than believing that your abilities are fixed. This mindset will help you develop other skills, particularly ones that you are not as strong with. As a growth mindset aids in skill development it is the perfect skill to start your journey towards success as a student with.

The series has two episodes dedicated to developing a growth mindset. These can be found in the 'Growth Mindset Podcasts' column. Below is a summary of some of the key points made in both of those episodes. 

The first key point to make is that a person can have both a fixed mindset and a growth mindset at the same time. A fixed mindset is where you categorise yourself as being at a certain level in a skill and that level is fixed in your head and cannot change. This could be, for example, thinking that you are bad at maths, but it can also extend to things that you are good at. It is true that you can be successful with a fixed mindset, but you will only be successful in the areas you are already strong in and would be less skilled elsewhere. A growth mindset is where you believe that you can develop, particularly in weaker areas. Someone with a growth mindset may say "I can't do that yet" rather than "I can't do that". With a growth mindset they will look towards how they can develop rather than avoid that skill. These two states of mind can exist at the same time, as you may have a growth mindset about developing one thing, and be fixed in relation to developing another thing. Therefore, try to be aware of when you are being fixed, and to challenge yourself to grow and develop in that area. 

Dr Fiona Shelton discussed how as children we have a freedom to fail. When we learned to walk, for example, we likely fell down over and over again. As adults we have lost that ability to persevere and instead box ourselves into those things that we are good at and those that we are not so good at. So when we start to develop our growth mindset, we need to be free to fail and willing to learn through challenge. 

Associate Professor Melanie Pope discussed how failure is often found in those who are successful. The key is how we respond to failure and feedback. Melanie described how James Dyson tried over 2000 times to get his vacuum cleaner to work before finding success and how Walt Disney lost his job for not having enough imagination. Success is often built on the foundations of failure. If you have failed, use it as an opportunity to learn and to reflect to ensure that you improve in the future.