skip to Main Content

Does a Growth Mindset Develop in Different Ways?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA school leader recently asked me, “Is it easier for students with some personality types, or cognitive processes, to develop a growth mindset than for others?” The idea of a growth mindset comes from the research of Carol Dweck, captured in her book Mindset

My initial reaction to my colleague’s question was that each type would be helped, and hindered, by different factors. And, given that it was really cold that night in Minnesota (-25C windchills), I stayed by the fireplace and drafted this chart, Dominant Function and Mindset, with my first thoughts. It’s based on the framework of cognitive processes laid out by Carl Jung and my research on how students learn mathematics, as well as years of coaching teachers in differentiated instruction methods.

Please comment on this draft, either below or in emails to me at If you’re unfamiliar with Dweck’s work, the short article How Do Students Get Smart?, designed for use in professional learning communities, summarizes the impact of a growth vs. fixed mindset.

Why is it important? Because what works to help us believe in ourselves may have just the opposite effect on those who are wired differently. What makes one child believe, “Effort creates ability” may make another “allergic” to school. Let’s see if we can jointly work to differentiate how to help each child develop a growth mindset.

Jane Kise is a consultant and executive coach. The founder of Differentiated Coaching Associates and author of over 20 books, she works with schools and businesses worldwide to help create environments where everyone can flourish.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Jane, I am familiar with Carol’s work – first introduced to me by a one of my team members who joined me about 2 years ago after graduating from the University of Victoria with a honours MBA. One of her professors had taught students about the growth vs fixed mindset concept, and she introduced it into our workplace to our OD team as well as our clients. It initially took some time and lots of thought, as well as additional reading including Gladwell’s Outliers, that influenced my thinking. However, it was the educational experience of two of my nephews that really convinced me that a growth mindset does make a difference, but also that “growing” that mindset is different for different “types”. Both were diagnosed at one point with ADHD, one with having a “learning disability”, and yet once they got the necessary tools, feedback, teachers and schools who were willing and able to differentiate their learning approaches, their growth totally changed. One – an ESTP, the other – an ESFP. Both learn best by doing rather than lectures and reading – but both are on the path to doing what they enjoy because they connected with teachers and others who provided what they needed to grow and learn.

  2. Jane, I really have to think about this. I’ve printed it out to mull over. Will share thoughts when they are effectively verbalized! It’s a great question.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: