Mindset and Library Instruction

Goodman, Jana


Folk, A. (2016) Academic reference and instruction librarians and Dweck’s theories of intelligence.  College & Research Libraries,77, 302-313.

Summary:  This article summarizes Carol Dweck’s important book Mindset. Mindest lays out the idea that our intelligence is not fixed, rather it is through hard work we can achieve success and goals.  But if our mind set is fixed and we believe intelligence is something we are born with, something we cannot change, then we will not be productive.  If we instead have a growth mindset, we see ourselves as a work in progress and believe in our ability to learn things, rather then thinking we should know them already, we can achieve success.  The author discusses the application of Dweck’s ideas to working with students at both the college and K-12 education level and how this could benefit our students.

Evaluation:  This article is a good starting place and it inspired me to pull out my copy of Dweck’s very influential book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  I plan to finally read it as this article inspired me, again, about its importance.  It is a way of thinking that is crucial to impart to our students and I realize valuable to apply to my own life and journey as a learner.

How to Foster a Growth Mindset

Amy Jessica McMillan

Schwartz, K. What’s your learning disposition? How to foster students’ mindsets. (2014). MindShift. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/03/whats-your-learning-disposition-how-to-foster-students-mindsets/ utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FnHAK+%28MindShift%29

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has developed a compelling theory for how students learn. According to Dweck, students who have what she terms a “growth mindset” outperform those who don’t. This article, published in Mindshift, adds to Dweck’s theory by outlining a few other motivational mindsets. According to blog author Karen Scwartz, some important mindsets for students include feeling like they belong to an academic community, the belief that the work is valuable and that they can be successful, and the belief that their intelligence can grow with effort. Finally, Schwartz gives examples of several schools who focus on developing these mindsets with students.

This article gives several practical tips for encouraging students to stay motivated to learn. Most educators have worked with kids who have simply given up because they’ve decided they can’t succeed. Schwartz proposes some tools for reinvigorating those students and for keeping the rest as motivated as possible. I wonder why Schwartz differentiates the mindsets listed in her article from the ones Carol Dweck proposes in her research and in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In another Mindshift article titled “Beyond Talent and Smarts,” blogger Annie Murphy Paul (2012) explains Dweck’s research “has shown that children and adults who believe in the power of effort to overcome challenges [what she calls growth mindset] are more resilient and ultimately more successful than those who are convinced that ability is innate.” Regardless, Schwartz’s ideas about improving student learning outcomes are certainly thoughtful and intuitively compelling. She reminds us that our abilities and intelligences can grow based on the effort we put into our work. We teachers need to have that in the forefront of our minds every time we step in front of our students.