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Mindset: The Psychology of Learning and Achievement

Script to support powerpoint presentation for use with young
people (secondary school pupils and students)
Introductory note
We have not numbered the slides so that you can remove slides if you wish and
still be able to use the script. We have identified where there is a 'Potential
Discussion Point'. These are slides (and on occasions, suggested exercises)
which you can use to involve the audience in discussion/activities. You can easily
remove these slides if you simply want to present the material without discussion.
Or you can move these slides to the end of the presentation and use them later.
We have split the presentation into modules but you can easily remove these if
you like and make it into one seamless presentation.

Module 1
Slide: Module 1: Mindsets
Introduces the title of this module: Mindset
Slide: Born Smart…?
Introduces a key question at the heart of the mindset discussion: ‘are people born
smart?’ The mindset theory challenges this question. This question should get
your audience thinking about what they believe about this issue.
Slide: What we’ll be looking at…
Continues with questioning ‘are people born smart?’ On this slide there are four
questions directly related to this question. The last question introduces the
alternative argument ‘do talents, abilities and intelligence grow from experience?’


In this study two groups of rats were put in one of two environments: boring or stimulating. Slide: Rat results Those in the stimulating environment did better on ‘ratty intelligence tests’ (finding their way in a maze) and had heavier brains that those in the boring environment. This slide begins the investigation by looking at studies which have been done with animals. or get a discussion going. Even very old rats improved. This research studied the effect of the environment on the rats’ brains. by introducing the idea that people grow and develop. Slide: Ratty intellect… This slide details an experiment which has been carried out with rats. This is because we can learn a lot about humans by studying the brains of animals. Slide: What do you think? Potential discussion point This slide brings us back to the question ‘Are our abilities determined from birth’? You could ask the audience.Slide: Importance of development This slide follows on from the last question in the last slide. Slide: So are we born… This slide asks the audience to think about whether people are born good at maths or acting and so on. about whether they think 2 .g. What this shows is that doing things has an effect on the brain and behaviour. ‘was Einstein born a genius’? Slide: What can we learn about learning from animals? This slide introduces the question ‘how can science begin to answer whether people are born smart or not’? During this presentation there will be a build up of scientific evidence. Slides: Was Einstein born… through to Was Justin born… These slides are of famous people who we know to have been very successful. They continue with the same type of questioning as before e.

IQ tests or exams measure something permanent about the person.that tests such as IQ tests measure something stable. Slide: Two beliefs about intelligence… This cartoon introduces Carol Dweck’s theory to the audience. People holding these beliefs think that intelligent people should not have to work hard – it should come naturally. and whether people can predict what someone else will do based on these tests? Slide: People have increased their IQ… Over the last 50 years people’s IQ has risen. Slide: Growth mindset This slide sets out the growth mindset. One mindset allows ALL people to grow and develop (growth) and the other doesn’t (fixed). For example: receiving an ‘A’ in a test only means that I worked hard and used the correct strategies. People endorsing a growth mindset believe that learning requires hard work and effort and that people’s potential cannot be measured. They also believe that you can measure potential. People adopting a growth mindset believe that intelligence is malleable.g. by around 30 points. In simple terms Carol Dweck says that there are two beliefs about intelligence: fixed vs. For example. Because the person with a fixed mindset doesn’t believe in the ability to grow and develop they often don’t stretch themselves and do not value effort. humans have got more intelligent. People adopting a fixed belief think that intelligence is carved in stone: something stable and unchangeable. These are belief systems which shape how people view ability. Just like the rat in the exciting cage. people can get better at things. Because they believe in their own and other people’s potential they tend to give constructive feedback to help others learn. Slide: Thinking about mindset This slide contains some points you can make to the students about what we have learnt about the mindsets so far. The environment is full of many more opportunities for different experiences. growth. Individuals adopting a growth mindset believe that intelligence is malleable e. Slide: Fixed mindset This slide summarises fixed mindset beliefs. People can begin to NOTICE and observe 3 . These people believe that ALL individuals learn and grow.

When we hear a sound. 4 . The temporal lobes are concerned with sound and hearing. to see.g.the mindset they adopt. Slide: (Picture of the brain) This slide introduces the main areas of the brain: frontal. temperature and pain. occipital and temporal lobes. If part of this area is damaged a person loses the ability to process what they see. Each lobe helps us to carry out specific functions e. planning and speech. The frontal lobes are the most recently evolved area of the brain. For each of the areas discussed we have a right and a left lobe which are joined together by a bundle of nerves. Module 2 Slide: Module 2: The brain Slide: Facts about the brain… This slide contains some facts about the brain. The temporal lobes also deal with memory. The next four slides give some detail about what each of the four lobes help us do. They deal with higher cognitive functions such as reasoning. Slide: The parietal lobe… The parietal lobes are less well understood than the other lobes. the auditory cortex in the temporal lobe. hear. They are also involved with processing emotions and movements. processes that information. pressure. Slide: The frontal lobe… This slide gives some facts about the frontal lobes. This means that people can CHOOSE to adopt a growth mindset. Slide: The occipital lobe… The occipital lobe is used for seeing. Despite this. we know that this lobe is concerned with touch. Slide: The temporal lobe… This slide gives some facts about the temporal lobes. parietal. This will introduce students to the brain and what it does. feel and so on.

For example. of which we have around 100 billion. The picture on this slide shows the motor cortex. These areas get bigger the more we use them. As you can see the tummy and the back are very small. It allows us to plan and reason. Slide: Sound centre This slide follows on from the last point made in the previous slide. This is called the somatosensory cortex (located in the parietal lobe). For example. It also allows us to remember things. This is because we use them more often (think of a baby who explores his/her world with the mouth). Slide: Homunculus This slide introduces a specific area in our brain. This is because we use our hands more often than our arms. Our model of sensory function shows how hands and mouth are very sensitive. Brain imaging studies have shown that playing music makes the auditory centres of the brain grow. The message is then passed through a gap between two neurons to another dendrite. Slide: Neurons This slide illustrates how the brain DOES grow. This process is known as synaptic 5 . Musicians have a bigger auditory cortex than non-musicians. the hand occupies much more than the arm. This area represents the parts of our bodies we use when we move.Slide: All of the lobes and all their functions… This slide rounds up why we have talked at length about the brain. This is because we don’t use them very often. In this model the hands are very big and so is the mouth. when we think a thought. All of these areas help us to do things in the world like playing instruments or riding bikes. Slide: Brain space… This slide shows a slice of the brain. For example. It does this through tiny cells called neurons. a musician will have a bigger area which represents the fingers. talk to someone or practice an instrument our brain communicates this message. The messages arrive via the dendrites and leave via the axon. which contains the motor cortex. This image demonstrates that the body does not occupy an equal amount of the brain. There is also a part of our brain which represents the things we feel. Neurons are made of an axon and a dendrite. It is called the motor cortex and is located in the frontal lobes.

and to identify what they would like to learn more of. Slide: Learning helps our neurons grow… This slide shows that when we learn things. It then answers the question with views from both growth and fixed mindset. Slides: Lance Armstrong through to Walt Disney… These slides give examples of very successful people who have failed. Slide: Neurons pass information through connections… This slide shows how the cells communicate to each other: from the axon to the dendrites. this happens through neurons communicating with one another. Slide: What about your brain? Potential discussion point This slide asks the audience to reflect on their learning and to imagine the connections they make as they learn. This is important because Carol Dweck’s work suggests that people can learn to adopt a growth mindset through exposure to role models. The main message on this slide is that cells communicate information to each other when we do things. Slide: Different ways people view failure This slide encourages the audience to think about how people fail. feel things and see things. by making lots of connections. Module 3 Slide: Module 3: ‘Fail your way to success’ Title slide for module 3.transmission. People endorsing a fixed mindset view it as confirmation that they are not smart. Slide: People with large auditory… This slide talks more specifically about how learning an instrument can actually increase the size of that area of the brain. 6 . via a small gap between the cells – called a synapse. and overcome the failure. People endorsing a growth mindset value learning and see failure as a learning opportunity.

The idea here is to encourage them to think about how this might have got in the way of their success. Slide: Think of a time when you didn’t enjoy… Potential discussion point This slide encourages students to reflect upon their own experience by looking at what goals they held at particular times. There are two responses to failure. 7 .wcer. Others (those with a fixed mindset) create performance goals. Some (those with a growth mindset) create learning goals.wisc. You could use some collaborative learning techniques to encourage groups to discuss this and write down e. The second response leads people to increase effort and motivation and keep going in the face of challenge. The first leads some people to blame themselves. feel depressed and give up trying. Sometimes we set goals which we are not even aware of. Which view depends upon which goal they set.htm Module 4 Slide: Module 4: ‘How people cope with failure’ Title slide for module 4. Slide: Write down the benefits… Potential discussion point This slide has an exercise which follows on from the last slide.g. This means that they see failure as part of the learning process. Slide: Response to failure In the last module we looked at people’s VIEW of failure: some people see it as a chance to learn and other see it as an opportunity to prove themselves.Slide: Why do people have different views of failure… This slide specifically addresses the question ‘why do people have a different view of failure?’ by showing that people create different goals for their learning. They believe failure is not part of the learning process as it makes them look stupid. People who hold performance goals value looking intelligent. This encourages them to NOTICE their goals and subsequent behaviour. This slide looks at how people COPE with People with learning goals value learning. This will then help them to think about what they might do next time. pair share http://www. It asks students to write down the benefits of adopting learning goals.

They are unlikely to blame themselves for the failure and will say things like: ‘I didn’t work hard enough’ or ‘the exam was beyond what I can do at the moment’ or ‘I’ll get there eventually with hard work and effort’. This means that when they face challenges and setbacks they tend to look for the learning. Because they explain the cause of events this way. believe that there is nothing they can do in the face of failure. Using non invasive brain imaging machines. is different when they fail. erroneously. but they can see a way out and do not blame their intellect. they are less likely to respond to failure by feeling down or anxious. This is the helpless response. Those with a fixed mindset pay attention to how they feel and ignore learning information. They also factor in many things when faced with failure.Slide: Helpless response This slide goes into more detail about the first response mentioned in the last slide. growth mindsets. This is because they have a fixed view of their ability. This means that they will engage with the problem. Slide: 50/50 This is to emphasise that both responses are normal. for people with a fixed mindset and people with a growth mindset. ‘I’ll never get it anyway’ or ‘I’m stupid’. People with a growth mindset pay attention to the learning information. People with a growth mindset tend to adopt learning goals. researchers have shown that the activity in the brain. They are less likely to persevere and put effort in if they believe that they ‘can’t do it’. These harsh statements make people feel depressed because they. People displaying the helpless response may often be labelled ‘lazy’ because they appear to be unmotivated. It is true that they may not like the fact that they have failed. Slide: Brain imaging and response… This slide gives some scientific back up to the helpless and mastery responses seen in people with fixed vs. look for new ways to do things and try harder when things get tough. Slide: Mastery response This slide gives some of the characteristics of a mastery response to failure. however one is more helpful than the other. However Carol Dweck has shown that people endorsing a fixed mindset will tend to display the ‘lazy’ characteristics. or ‘won’t get it’. After failure those with a growth mindset tend to do better on retests 8 . They may say to themselves things such as ‘what’s the point?’.

this could be a parent. the only thing that differed was the mindset they adopted. Self-confidence in this mindset is fragile and requires constant success and praise to maintain it. or move on to the next slide Slide: Now go and find out the truth… Potential discussion point This could be a class exercise. Slide: Think about your hero… Potential discussion point This slide is an exercise which uses role models to look at the value of effort. Ask the students to take their hero and find out about the effort it took them to reach their accomplishments. People with a growth mindset see effort as a necessary part of success. For example. This could be done through interviewing. This should be someone who has. Ask students to think about their heroes. reading about or observing the person. what they believe to be. Slide: Mindset tips 9 . Slide: Write down on a piece of paper 3 benefits of displaying a mastery response… through to Michael Jordan’s coach said… Potential discussion point These slides contain a class exercise which aims to get people thinking about their response to failure. Ask them to think about whether this person made these achievements without effort? You could ask students to feedback. Carol Dweck has discovered that people with a ‘fixed’ mindset often avoided opportunities to improve their skills and abilities because they didn't expect effort would make any difference and that having to put effort into something only proved that they weren't good at it in the first place. extraordinary abilities. Slide: Next time you get feedback or marks… Potential discussion point This slide follows on from the last slide and encourages students to think about what they can learn from the feedback they get. Slide: What do you believe about effort? Potential discussion point This slide introduces another very important part of Carol Dweck’s theory. a singer or a writer. encouraging them to look for effort and hard work. A key point is that the people are equally able.because they have learnt the information. an academic. Slide: Do you avoid or give up on… Potential discussion point This slide is encouraging students to look at their behaviour. By changing your mindset you can change the response in your brain. This is students’ beliefs about effort. You cannot succeed without hard work and effort.

Keep these on your desk until you get to slide ‘picture the brain forming…’ Alternatively you could ask students to put their responses on the wall. Slide: Write down 3 things you know about a fixed… This exercise is the same as before except you are asking students to think about a fixed mindset and write down three points. It provides a recap of the main points. to write a point on each one. or bits of card. Module 5 Slide: Module 5: Mindset résumé and discussion Title for module 5. Give them a few minutes to think before writing down their such as a pair share or jigsaw (http://edtech.This slide has some tips from this or different colored pens.htm) and ask the groups to feedback to you about the growth mindset.wikipedia. For this exercise you may want to give the students different coloured card. It is best to talk generally and not ask people specifically about their own answers. Ask students to give their bits of paper to you. 10 . The reason for this is that you want to separate the growth responses from the fixed responses when you come to the next slide. You may like to use a cooperative learning technique (http://en.kennesaw. Slide: In groups I want you to discuss the benefits of a growth… This slide contains an exercise which asks people to discuss a growth mindset. You may want to add in more as you are going through each list. Go through each one and reflect back on what has been learnt. Give each student three bits of card. or to put them in a pile on the table. Then talk about the results. correcting and explaining their answers. Slide: 2 Mindsets recap This slide provides a recap of what people with a fixed mindset and a growth mindset believe about their intelligence. (The following slides are part of the same exercise which is a chance to see what people have learned) All potential discussion points Slide: Write down 3 things you know about a growth… This exercise asks students to think about the growth mindset and write about three things they know about it. Slide: Now stick these on the wall in 2 separate… If you have not already asked students to put their responses on the wall then do so in two different categories: growth and fixed. For this exercise you will need post it notes.

Once the students have thought about what they have learnt from the experience you could ask them to write it down. Slide: Is there something in your past which you think measured you? Here is a thought exercise for the students. which asks them to focus on the growth mindset perspective in relation to a previous experience. You might like to use a goals tool (see the appendix in the general script for this tool) to help them with the plan.Slide: Picture the brain forming new connections… This slide was added in order to emphasis the point (which some students may have made during their feedback for the previous slide) which is that the brain makes new connections each time something new is learned. Slide: (Different subjects) This slide links to the previous one. Slide: Is there something that you always wanted to do… This slide asks people to think about something that they always wanted to do but were afraid to do it. Slide: What did you learn from this experience? This slide follows on from the last one. You may want to add more or elaborate on these ones. Slide: People are born with… This slide illustrates that we are ALL born with a love of learning and that a fixed mindset can undo this. Slide: Mindset tips This slide has a summary of key points. It gives some ideas of subjects people may want to work on. Slide: Fixed mindset This slide provides a summary of the main points relating to a fixed mindset. 11 . This is so that they strengthen the memory and the relation of the growth mindset to their experience.

Slide: Growth mindset This slide provides a summary of the main points relating to a growth mindset. The Centre would like to thank the Scottish Government for their support in helping to produce this resource. 12 .