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5302,  Masters - ADL

When Our Words are the Problem – The Power of “Not Yet”

Research shows that students who have a fixed mindset can believe themselves incapable of learning or performing and, as a result, such a mindset can have a negative effect on their resilience in an education setting. As educators, our job is to ensure that students stay positive about their capabilities as they are pushed, just enough, for authentic growth to occur. This growth comes from not only educators’ attitudes, but the perceptions and interactions among students.

How many times have I said things like Mr. Briceno mentioned in his video that moves kids towards a fixed mindset? I never thought that saying, “Wow, that’s a really good score you must be good at this” would be ultimately a negative. I find it quite interesting that research shows praising kids for being smart or good at something moves them towards a fixed mindset, whereas praising them for their effort allows the students to perceive themselves as accomplishing the task and therefore moves them towards a growth mindset. I became panicked and self-reflective as I analyzed my own life. How many times have I told my own children they are smart, eroding their confidence as I solidify the concept that you are only intelligent when you excel, not when you learn? However, I paused my panic when I thought about how hard my sons work at becoming better at something. My oldest son wanted to sing, and when he started just shy of two years ago, he sounded like something akin to a dying cat. Now, he is on his way to the third round in our All-State Choir competition. He works for hours each day, sings in the middle of the lunchroom, and constantly requests feedback from anyone who will listen. My other two sons work just as hard, one in academics and the other in sports. I know they are not naturally gifted, but an outsider may think they are based on their current abilities. In the future, I will have to purposely use the phrase, “You must have tried really hard” when congratulating a job well done (Dweck, 2014). I will work on encouraging not only my own children but all the ones I teach with the concept of “Not yet” when they still have not met the standard. As a teacher and a mother, I want the children in my care to be prepared for life, not just make an “A” on the next test. 

YouTube. (2014). Developing a Growth Mindset with Carol Dweck. YouTube. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

The Power of belief — mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno | TEDxManhattanBeach. (2012). YouTube. Retrieved October 29, 2022, from

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