Cultivating a Growth Mindset

You are probably wondering why I would start a blog on a topic that has nothing obviously to do with instructional design or educational technology, and I would tell you that I chose this topic because I think we could all use a reminder from time to time about why we do what we do here at the University of Houston. I bet for most of you, a big reason for why you are here is that you enjoy learning and sharing what you learn with others. I bet most of you would also consider yourselves to have a “growth mindset”.

Carol Dweck, Ph.D., the world-renowned psychologist at Stanford, developed a “theory of the mind”1 that is centered on the idea that people have a particular understanding about their intelligence and traits. A person with a fixed mindset believes that they are born with a certain amount of intelligence and talent, and that there really isn’t much they can do about it. A person with a growth mindset, however, is open to the possibility that if they work, practice, focus attention, etc., to develop skills or learn new concepts, then they believe they have the “potential” to achieve their goals.

Why should people have one mindset and not the other? Now we could explore studies about nature vs. nurture, but we have limited space, so I will cut to the chase to say that Dr. Dweck and others argue that it is a give and take between the two. If that is the case, then how can we in the arena of higher education push for a growth mindset in our students and, frankly, for ourselves? One way is to encourage and reward, where possible, the process of learning over the product of learning.

A major goal of this site is to foster a growth mindset through the presentation of exciting ideas in teaching and learning and new technologies to help us to reach our 21st century students. In this site, you will find pieces by specialists in the fields of instructional design, design/design thinking, educational technology, psychology and educational psychology, curriculum development, as well as subject matter experts who want to share what has worked for them in the physical and virtual classrooms. We will also provide tips and tutorials to get started with tools and course design. This is a space to explore and experiment with tools and ideas.

This site is for the UH faculty and instructional support community, so please help us make it better with your suggestions and your own contributions. I will throw out a question as a conversation starter:

How do you cultivate a “growth mindset”? We would love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading!

1Dweck, C. (2010) MINDSET. Retrieved November 20, 2015, from

Further Reading:

Glenn, D. (2010) Carol Dweck’s Attitude: It’s Not About How Smart You Are. Retrieved on December 1, 2015, from

McMullan, A. (2015) 5 Entrepreneurial Skills Today’s Students Need. Retrieved on November 25, 2015, from

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