Growth Mindset

At Maffra Secondary College, we believe all children can learn. Unfortunately however, not all children believe this themselves. It is a common misconception that may of the worlds most talented and successful individuals were born that way. The reality is that for the vast majority of them, the success is due to hard work, practice and commitment to their interest.

The Growth Mindset concept is the life work of international psychologist Carol Dweck, and is based on decades of academic research. It states that there are two mindsets – a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, each which affect our attitude and behaviour in different ways. A person may be more of one than the other, or a mixture depending on the circumstances.

Fixed mindset people believe intelligence is fixed. You’re either born smart or you’re not. As a result, they often attach intelligence to their identity, and try to ensure they’re seen as smart. This means they frequently compare themselves to others, avoid challenges or difficult tasks and go for easy wins. With a fixed mindset, effort is seen as a negative because ‘smart people don’t need to work hard’.

Growth Mindset people believe intelligence can be grown or developed. In turn, they are more interested in improving their learning than simply proving it. If they can’t do something, it’s just because they haven’t learnt it yet. They seek out challenges and look to more capable people they can learn from. They’re not afraid of making mistakes, and see effort as an important part of learning something challenging.

The Growth Mindset concept forms an important part of our college’s Challenging Learning agenda. We encourage all of our students to adopt a growth mindset, and provide them with the hard evidence in which science now tells us everyone can learn and everyone can get smarter.

Parents can play an integral role in supporting their children to believe they can learn anything. For more information, visit, or search for Dweck’s book, Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success.