What is a growth mindset, and why does it matter?

Students with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence and talent are innate traits that don’t change. For example, they might say “I just can’t learn math.” These students typically worry about not looking smart, get upset by mistakes, and give up sooner on tough tasks.

Students with a growth mindset believe that ability can change as a result of effort, perseverance, and practice. You might hear them say, “Math is hard, but if I keep trying, I can get better at it.” Students with a growth mindset see mistakes as ways to learn, embrace challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks. High-performing students and low-performing students may have either mindset.

Studies show students with a growth mindset:

  • Are more motivated and engaged, even when work is challenging
  • Are more likely to review or revise their work
  • Score better on math and verbal standardized tests
  • Fail fewer classes and have higher GPAs
  • Are more likely to persist in high school and college
growth mindset graphic

Many teachers are already encouraging growth mindset in their classrooms


Being intentional about the strategies we use with students can help


We believe that teachers need access to a range of practical strategies that are free and easy to use in the classroom

Why download the free Growth Mindset Toolkit?

The growth mindset toolkit is a self-contained professional development session (a “PD-in-a-Box”) built to ensure that teachers have a positive experience while  learning more about growth mindset. We have developed and extensively tested the toolkit to ensure that it is as helpful as possible to educators, and we welcome your feedback about further refinements we can make. The toolkit contains:

  • Facilitators guide with sample agendas
  • Slide presentation to guide you through the session
  • Animation showing the critical role growth mindset plays for children over the long term, that it can be taught, and the mindset needed to actually teach it
  • Video interviews with students who saw dramatic improvements after learning specific growth mindset strategies in school
  • Practical strategies and sample ways to use them that teachers can implement immediately
  • Suggested reflection activities and a practical planning exercise
  • Handout with all of the key session content, plus extra implementation examples, that teachers can take with them

The majority of these items are available in fully editable formats so you can adapt the session to fit your own needs.

Growth mindset graphic courtesy of Nigel Holmes; praise video courtesy of Trevor Ragan at Championship Basketball School.

“We must resist thinking in siloed terms when it comes to social-emotional learning (SEL), academics, and equity. Rather, these elements of our work as educators and partners go hand in hand.”

TransformEd & ANet