DAY 58 – DAS CIRCUIT BREAKER NEWS – Growth vs Fixed Mindset

DAY 58 – Growth vs Fixed Mindset #CircuitBreaker #EmbraceDyslexia


I am writing this not as a parent, or an educator – rather I am an administrator with a keen interest in education and children. I was grateful that my boss, Geetha Shantha Ram, the Director for SpLD Assessment Services, DAS Main Literacy Programme & Staff Professional Development shared some articles from the book “The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher’s Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve” by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley with our team. The book is based on Carol Dweck’s theory on the Growth vs Fixed Mindset. Each chapter made me think and I am sure it will make you think and question yourself too. Let me share.


In simple terms, an individual with the Growth Mindset is someone who is not afraid to take up new challenges and who is okay with making mistakes and learning and improving from them while an individual with a Fixed Mindset is someone who avoids taking up challenges for fear of failure. Most of us are a bit of both, well at least I am. Though, having said that, I realised one very interesting thing that I shared with Geetha – It occurred to me that while in some instances I may be hesitant to take up some challenges (usually because I am afraid of disappointing myself), I encouraged my students (when I used to teach) to not be afraid of challenging themselves or making mistakes. I invested time in pushing them to reach their best and when they do, it gives me great happiness especially when you see that smile on their face that says ‘I actually did this & succeeded’. And I am pretty sure, as both parents and educators, you would have experienced the same. 

So, my question to you is – Why do you not practice the same on yourself?

Below are some questions from Carol Dweck’s book that would help you to understand if you are more of someone who has a Growth or Fixed Mindset and while you are at it put yourself in 2 shoes: 1 – yours & 2 – as a parent/teacher to your child/student.

Table 1: What mindset are you? Answer these questions. (Brock & Hundley, pg16)

  1  _____

There are just some things I’ll never be good at.


When I make a mistake, I learn from it.


When others do better than me, I feel threatened.


I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone.


When I show others I’m smart or talented, I feel successful.


I feel inspired by the success of others.


I feel good when I can do something others cannot.


It’s possible to change how intelligent you are.


You shouldn’t have to try to be smart—you just are or you aren’t.


I enjoy talking on a new challenge or task with which I am unfamiliar.

If you have ticked mostly the odd numbers, then you have a Fixed Mindset and if you find that you have ticked mostly the even numbers, you have a Growth Mindset.

Carol Dweck identifies 5 areas in which there is a difference between the Fixed and Growth Mindset. These 5 areas are as stated in the diagram: Challenges, Obstacles, Effort, Criticism & Success of Others. Refer to the diagram and think, which category do you fall under – remember there are no right or wrong answers. It just helps you understand yourself a little better and gives you the opportunity to make some changes.

Table 2: 5 Areas of Difference. (Brock & Hundley, pg.17)

SituationFixed Mindset   Growth Mindset

Challenges are avoided to maintain the appearance of intelligence.

Challenges are embraced, stemming from a desire to learn.


Giving up in the face of obstacles and setback having to try or put in effort is viewed as a negatives is a common response.

Showing perseverance in the face of obstacles and setbacks is a common response.


Having to try or put in effort is viewed as negative, if you have to try, you’re not very smart or talented.

Doing hard work and putting in effort paves the path to achievement and success.


Negative feedback, regardless of how constructive, is ignored.

Criticism provides important feedback that can aid in learning.

Success of Others

Other people’s success if viewed as a threat and evokes feelings of insecurity or vulnerability.

Other people’s success can be a source of inspiration and education.

Table 3: What type of Educator are you? (Brock & Hundley, pg.18)

Fixed MindsetGrowth Mindset

Professional development is so boring, I never learn anything at these things.

During professional development, I’ll listen with an open mind and seek out new ideas.

This parent is driving me crazy, he wants a progress update everyday.

This parent is very invested.  I need to find a way to communicate with him productively.

This student is incapable of making gains in maths.

How can I Present the information so this student can understand?

This student is a brilliant reader; she doesn’t need my attention.

I should develop enrichment opportunities so this student feels sufficiently challenged in reading instruction.

I’ll never be as good a teacher as she is.

I should ask her to be my mentor so I can learn from her.

My students ruined this lesson; they just refused to cooperate.

How could I change this lesson so its more engaging for my students?

This student hates school and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

How can I use this student’s interests and passions to engage her in learning?

With his poor homelife, this student doesn’t have a prayer of graduating.

I believe that this student can find success regardless of his background.


The above diagram shares the difference between a Fixed and a Growth Mindset Educator. If you notice, the Fixed Mindset Educator would look at situations in a negative manner where if it is bad means to avoid it. In comparison, an Educator with a Growth Mindset would look at any situation in a positive manner, where if something does not work it is an opportunity to learn and improvise.

So, which are you – one with a fixed or growth mindset? What kind of Educator or parent are you and which would you prefer to be? 

I told you, this is going to make you think and reflect. Have fun!

By Manmeet Kaur
DAS Staff Professional Development (SPD) Executive 

Read the article here



Since the start of the COVID-19 situation, DAS has had to respond to delivering our remediation classes as well as all of our training online!  We decided to go ahead with our Preschool Seminar as an online webinar and since then in March we have become quite adept at doing things online.  So preparations have been going well for this next online experience and we look forward to having you as a participant at UNITE SPLD.

DAS has been overwhelmed with the support of our local and international colleagues and we appreciate their continued support of our SpLD community.

We look forward to delivering you a “different” conference this year, we will not let the virus stop us from learning!

Ticket sales will be available on 27 April 2020 @ $75 each.  DAS Parents get a discount – call our hotline:  6444 5700 (Office Hours)