Growth Mindsets in Maths



Thank you to Fiona Phillips at Alness Academy for these pictures of her display promoting growth mindsets in her maths classroom!

The idea of growth and fixed mindsets comes from Carol Dweck of Stanford University. Follow this link for more information:

What is Mindset?

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

Mindsets are especially relevant to learning in numeracy and maths, where children (and adults!) often believe that only certain people can “do” maths or are “good” at maths.

This is an interesting article which explores how mindsets affect learning in maths and science:

Mindsets and Maths/Science Achievement

There is a growing body of evidence that students’ mindsets play a key role in their math and science achievement. Students who believe that intelligence or math and science ability is simply a fixed trait (a fixed mindset) are at a significant disadvantage compared to students who believe that their abilities can be developed (a growth mindset). “

In studies that specifically examine beliefs about math or science, the questions are tailored to the domain: “You have a certain amount of math intelligence and you cannot really do much to change it.” Informally, we have noted in our research that students tend to have more of a fixed view of math skills than of other intellectual skills.

It’s vital that we help our children develop growth mindsets through:

  • Encouraging  and praising EFFORT, STRATEGIES and THINKING through sharing HOW we work out problems
  • Valuing mistakes as an opportunity to learn
  • Giving effective and constructive feedback
  • Using diagnostic and formative assessment to plan responsive learning
  • Challenge children’s thinking through dialogue and questioning
  • Building confidence by valuing LEARNING rather than simply achievements

All key concepts behind the Highland Numeracy Progression approach!

This website has great ideas for modelling and promoting growth mindsets:

Growth Mindsets in Maths

Thank you again to Fiona for these fantastic examples of using display to reinforce the message of growth mindsets that she promotes through her teaching. It would be great to hear any more examples of great practice – please email or comment!




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2 Responses to Growth Mindsets in Maths

  1. Pingback: Making Maths Count | Highland Numeracy Blog

  2. Pingback: How can we spark a love of maths? | Highland Numeracy Blog

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