Mindset (V): Parents, Teachers, and Teacher/Coaches

Parents, teachers, and teacher/coaches know that their “every word can send a message [to their children, students, and athletes]. It tells children … how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed-mindset message that says: You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Or it can be a growth-mindset message that says: You are a developing person and I am interested in your development,” (p. 173).

And “we never outgrow our sensitivity to these messages,” (p. 174).

A Message to Parents

“Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence … by praising their brains and talents. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect…. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning,” (pp. 176 & 177).

A Message to Teachers

” … Great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are fascinated with the process of learning,” (p. 194).

Marva Collins taught “Chicago children who had been judged and discarded,” (p. 194).

“On the first day of school, she always promised her students – all students – that they would learn. She forged a contract with them.

“‘I know that most of you can’t spell your name. You don’t know the alphabet, you don’t know how to read, you don’t know homonyms or how to syllabicagte. I promise you that you will…. Well, goodbye to failure, children. Welcome to success. You will read hard books in here and understand what you read. You will write every day… But you must help me to help you. If you don’t give anything, don’t expect anything. Success is not coming to you, you must come to it,'” (p. 195).

A Message to Teacher/Coaches

Dr. Dweck uses legendary UCLA coach John Wooden as an example of a coach with a growth mindset.

“He didn’t ask for mistake-free games. He didn’t demand that his players never lose. He asked for full preparation and full effort from them. ‘Did I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort?’ If so, he says, ‘You may be outscored, but you will never lose,‘” (p. 207). 


This is the last in a five-part series on Mindset. The ideas and quotes in these blogs come from Dr. Carol Dwecks’ book, “mindset: The New Psychology of Success.”

If I were in charge of the learnings of future teachers at a university or college, “mindset” would be required reading.

About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
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