OMA&D Academic Counseling Services

Learning Strategies

What is Growth Mindset & How to Practice it

Dr. Leah Spence (TRIO Writing Instructor) and Dr. Patricia Zagallo (TRIO STEM Instructor) discuss what is Growth Mindset and explore data supporting this theory of learning. 

This exercise is one way to reflect on and practice Growth Mindset. Dr. Leah Spence (TRIO Writing Instructor) and Dr. Patricia Zagallo (TRIO STEM Instructor) walk through the exercise for you to follow along! This exercise was adapted from Amy Christensen at NAEOP Conference 2020. 

Dr. Leah Spence (TRIO Writing Instructor) and Dr. Patricia Zagallo (TRIO STEM Instructor) discuss other exercises/activities to do to practice Growth Mindset. 

Email us anytime for questions or make a 1-on-1 appointment to talk about growth mindset in your life. 

  • Dr. Leah Spence (Writing Instructor) – Email: 

How To Support The Application Of Growth Mindset  

(Source: Amy Christensen, Idaho State University) 

Struggling in your belief about your ability to build skills

  • Create a list of your “Mastered”, “In Progress”, and “Developing” skills to reassure yourself that you have the ability to grow and change. 

Feeling afraid of being judged? 

  • Ask yourself am I motivated by this goal myself or because of others’ judgments? Evaluate if goals are coming truly from you or someone telling you.  

Putting high effort into something and wondering if it’s worth it? 

  • List your efforts and their direct outcomes for an area/subject of high effort (academic or other), to realize even if feeling unpleasant in the short term, efforts have positive outcomes in the long term. 

Struggling in your belief about your ability to overcome challenges

  • List past challenges that were successfully negotiated and/or overcome; what strategies were used? Look at your list to reassure yourself you can overcome challenges even if it feels like you can’t in the moment. 

Wondering who to get feedback from? 

  • Identify trusted sources for honest feedback – not just listening to feedback for comfort. Critically evaluate who you get feedback from, for example, someone who’s been through the object in question. 

Feeling caught up in your mistakes? 

  • Identify a past action that felt like a mistake at the time, but had a growth outcome. Recognize even mistakes turn into something meaningful. Note that the word “mistake” has a negative connotation, but learning can’t happen without a space for mistakes. 

Additional Activities and Resources on Growth Mindset 

Why People Believe They Can’t Draw – Graham Shaw Ted Talk

  • For a fun video practicing Growth Mindset, follow along the activity in this Ted Talk by Graham Shaw on “Why People Believe They Can’t Draw” (~15 mins) – spoiler alert, you can draw by the video end! Click here to watch. 

Growth Mindset Book Summaries

Watch book summaries about Growth Mindset and other learning strategies 

  • Watch the ~7 min summary of Carol Dweck’s book Mindset by clicking here. Carol Dweck discovered Growth Mindset Theory. 

  • Watch the ~8 min summary of the book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel, by clicking here. This book discusses well-researched, evidence-based strategies students can use for successful learning.