Growth Mindset

Parish CE  Primary School

Growth Mindsets: A guide for parents

Research by American psychologist Professor Carol Dweck, has shown that how we

view ourselves as learners has a huge impact on what we are able to achieve. She

suggests that people broadly fall into one of two categories: those with a fixed

mindset and those with a growth mindset.

Fixed Mindset Growth Mindset

We   have   a   predetermined     amount   of  intelligence, skills or talents which cannot  be changed.

We can develop our abilities, intelligence  or talents with persistence, effort and a  focus on learning.

Leads   to   a   desire    to   look   clever    and  therefore a tendency to:

· avoid challenges for fear of failure

· see mistakes and failures as proving you are stupid

·  believe if you have to work for success you are not clever

· feel threatened by others’ success

· be motivated by rewards and praise

· have low resilience and give up easily


· Either you’re good at something or you’re not.

· If you’re really good at something, you shouldn’t need to try.

Leads to a desire to learn and therefore a

tendency to:

· embrace challenges

· see mistakes and failures as learning opportunities

· believe work hard work (practice and effort) is the path to mastery

· be inspired by others’ success

· be self-motivated

· have high resilience and persist even when a task is difficult


· No     matter    how   good   you   are   at something, you can always improve.

· If you have to try, you must be learning.

Research has shown that children with a growth mindset seek more effective learning strategies, work harder, persevere in the face of setbacks and achieve a higher level of competency. 

How can we support our children as parents?

Key points for Parents 

Intelligent Praise

You’re so clever at… 

You’re so intelligent at...

You’re lucky you’re gifted at …

and it’s easy for you to.. 

Don’t worry if you didn’t get a great  result, did you get a better score than X child? 

Ah…you made a mistake, how many times have we told you to get it right first time?


Effort Praise

I’ve noticed the effort you’re putting into… 

All of your hard work and practice is resulting in progress in….

I’m proud of how committed you have been to learning… 

How do you feel about not getting the result you wanted first time? Are you clear on what you need to do to improve your learning next time? 

You made a mistake, that’s O.K., we all make mistakes when we’re learning something new. What can you learn from it, to improve next time?

• Encourage deliberate practice and targeted effort

• Encourage high challenge tasks to grow those brain cells!

• Discuss errors and mistakes and help your children to see them as opportunities to learn and improve

• Encourage family discussions about mindset and which mindset they (and you?) are choosing to use

• Teach children to think positively and to believe in themselves

• Redefine the meaning of a few ordinary words…


The secret to getting smarter. The more targeted effort you put in, the more you’ll get out. You can help your children to focus their effort and attention and encourage them to practise. Regularly recognise this effort with effort praise. Difficult is… challenging – an exciting opportunity or risk-taking and having a go.  Create excitement with your children as they take  on a new challenge and push outside their comfort zone. Recognise each achievement and point out to them how much they’re learning. Mistakes are learning opportunities. Help your children to see that mistakes are feedback (not failure). Recognise that when working outside their comfort zone, they are likely to make mistakes that they can learn from.

A small and empowering word, “YET” shifts thinking from a fixed to a growth state instantly.  Use it in conversation with your children.  When you hear… “I can’t do it”…. rephrase and add “yet”:   “You can’t do it yet, is there anything I can do to help you?” When you hear… “I’m rubbish at this”… rephrase and add “yet”:   “You haven’t found the best way to learn it yet. What could you do next?”


FAIL  = First Attempt In Learning