Growth Mindset: A Powerful Tool for Adult Students

Posted by on October 24th, 2017

The concept of mindset was introduced by psychologist Carol Dweck as the self-perception that people have. According to Dweck’s theory, there are two mindsets: fixed and growth. A fixed mindset refers to an individual’s belief that his basic traits, talent and intelligence are static.

Conversely, the growth mindset states that an individual can advance their most basic abilities through hard work and dedication. A growth mindset can be a powerful tool for adult learners as they continue their educational pursuits. Adopting a growth mindset is particularly useful as adult learners deal with their previous learning experiences and perceptions.


Document vs. Develop

Individuals with fixed mindsets often spend time documenting their talents and intelligence rather than developing them. These same individuals often believe that no effort is required for success. Instead, they will be successful based on their level of talent. You may recognize these learners as ones who view themselves as either “smart” or “dumb” with no insight on how to change.

Students with a growth mindset have a completely different perspective. You will notice that these individuals believe that their innate traits are just the starting point. Adult learners with this mentality will spend more time digging into ways to develop and enhance their intelligence and talent. A growth mindset is an active mindset.


Internal Dialogue

Adult students have an internal dialogue when learning. This internal dialogue has the power to influence experiences both positively and negatively. Students framing their internal dialogue with a growth mentality will see themselves achieving more. Their internal dialogue guides them towards continuing efforts for positive outcomes verses giving up.


Greater Capacity

A growth mindset fosters resilience and a love of learning. The benefit of embracing a growth mindset reveals itself in how quickly and how much someone learns. Failures are viewed as opportunities for improvement, and their capacity for success is greater.


Tips for Developing a Growth Mindset

It is possible to develop a growth mindset, no matter your students’ ages:

  1. Value the process more than the end result.
  2. Reframe challenges as opportunities.
  3. Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning”.
  4. Acknowledge and accept imperfections.
  5. Try new learning tactics.


The way your students think about learning and ability has a profound effect on their learning progress. For adult learners, adopting a growth mindset is a significant key towards their ultimate success. If they believe they are capable of learning and accomplishing more, they will work harder to that end. They can find motivation through internal dialogue and the rate at which they see themselves progressing. Similarly, adult learners can develop and enhance their growth mindset by reframing their perspectives.

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