THIS is What a Growth Mindset Looks Like in Action.

Carol Dweck’s Mindset — which argues that success depends on our willingness to be resilient and to believe that potential isn’t determined by ability alone — has been driving my thinking for the past year.  

People with fixed mindsets, Dweck argues, are all too willing to give up when the going gets tough, convinced that they “just don’t have what it takes” to overcome intellectual challenges.

People with growth mindsets, however, see struggles and failures as opportunities to learn.  “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it,” she writes, “even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset” (Kindle Location 184).

One of my struggles, however, was having tangible examples of just what growth mindsets looked like in action.

That all changed in our faculty meeting last week, however, when my principal shared this video describing the efforts of Malcom Mitchell, a star football player at the University of Georgia, to improve his reading ability:



Related Radical Reads:

Being Responsible for Teaching the Bored

How Gritty are Today’s Learners?

Talent is Cheaper than Table Salt


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  • JessicaCuthbertson

    Mindset Junkie


    Thank you for sharing this — I am a HUGE Dweck fan — Mindset is one of the few ‘professional reads’ that has truly stuck with me even though I read it a few years ago now. I reference it all the time and I truly believe focusing on a growth mindset has changed my teaching practice and changed me as a person (growth mindset is good for marriage! 🙂 

    My classroom contract is governed by growth mindset language, (Ex: “Smart is not something you are, it’s something you get, and in this room we work hard to get smarter and support each other,”) but I too am always on the lookout for great examples. I will share this with students! 

    • Bill Ferriter

      Oh Jessica — I LOVE the idea

      Oh Jessica — I LOVE the idea of incorporating growth mindset language into a classroom contract!

      Can you share yours?  I’d love to see what that looks like in action.

      We did a bunch of classroom norming this year, but I didn’t intentionally try to incorporate growth language into it.  

      Rock on, 


  • Jeff Jones

    Growth Mindset

    Bill, this is a fantastic blog. I am going to share with everyone at Solution Tree, and I hope they share it with countless others.


    • billferriter

      Hey Jeff, 

      Hey Jeff, 

      Sorry that I didn’t see this until now!  I’ve been writing books and making presentations for ST for a month straight now and have fallen behind on my comments.  

      It’s definitely a cool video, isn’t it?  I love when Mitchell beams as he describes his pride at becoming a better reader because it took effort.  That’s a message everyone needs to hear.  

      Hope you are well, 




  • JessicaCuthbertson


    You got it Bill! I’m on Fall Break but will snap a picture of our wall contract when I get back to school and post it here, as well as some of the survey questions I’m asking kids that get at growth mindset :). (You’d think I’d know it by heart — or have a digital copy — but alas, still learning! Good thing I give myself permission in true growth mindset fashion to goof up ;). 

    • CarrieKamm

      I’m looking forward to seeing

      I’m looking forward to seeing it as well!  

  • Andrew Aaroen


    What a great video!  I have never heard of Mindset before, but after watching this video I am very interested to see what it is about!

  • DavidCohen

    One of the more influential works out there
    “Mindset” has some serious traction, doesn’t it? It’s one of those rare works that makes sense to the average person, resonates with our practice, has a solid basis in research that resembles practice, and is almost instantly practical once understood. Daniel Pink’s “Drive” is another book like that – it makes sense, it’s appealing, and if you get it, you can do great things with it.

    • billferriter



      You’ve just described the keys to any successful change initiative in one comment!  Totally awesome.  

      I’m probably going to steal that comment and use it everywhere and for everything.

      Well said,