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Challenging Mindset


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Table of Contents

List of Figures The Challenging Learning Story Preface Acknowledgements About the Authors PART I WHAT IS MINDSET? Chapter 1: A Tale of Two Mindsets 1.0. Definition of Mindset 1.1. A Comparison of Fixed and Growth Mindsets 1.2. What Difference Does Mindset Make? 1.3. Mindset Is Not Black and White 1.4. Mueller and Dweck Results 1.5. We Are All a Mix of Mindsets 1.6. A Fixed Mindset Might Be More Common Than We Care to Admit PART II WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF MINDSET? Chapter 2: Growth Mindset Implementation Is Not There (Yet) 2.0. Growth Mindset Effect Size 2.1. Reduced Efficacy 1: Third-hand Knowledge 2.2. Reduced Efficacy 2: Mindset Is Made to Sound Too Easy 2.3. Reduced Efficacy 3: Too Much Performance-Focus, Not Enough Time 2.4. Reduced Efficacy 4: Influences Are Complex 2.5. Reduced Efficacy 5: Mindset Affects Qualities Other Than Achievement 2.6. What Are the Criticisms of Growth Mindset? Chapter 3: When Does Mindset Work Best? 3.0. Goals, Strategies and Expectations 3.1. Mindset Works Best When Goals Are Learning-Orientated 3.2. Mindset Works Best When There Is Challenge 3.3. Mindset Works Best When There Is a Chicken and an Egg! 3.4. Mindset for Lifelong Learning 3.5. Mindset Without Shame PART III HOW DOES MINDSET INTERACT WITH EDUCATION? Chapter 4: Mindset in Education 4.0. Introducing Alisha and Zack 4.1. Alisha and Zack's Backgrounds 4.2. Alisha and Zack Start School 4.3. Alisha and Zack Meet Their Teachers 4.4. Alisha and Zack Discover Their Talents PART IV WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT REALITY? Chapter 5: Do You Have a Growth Mindset Culture? 5.0. What Are We Aiming to Achieve? 5.1. How Much Progress Have We Made So Far? 5.2. Collecting Your Evidence 5.3. What Next? PART V HOW CAN YOU BUILD A GROWTH MINDSET? Chapter 6: Privilege Progress 6.0. The Origins of Intelligence Testing 6.1. Administering Tests the Growth Mindset Way 6.2. Draw Attention to Progress 6.3. Progress-Achievement Quadrants 6.4. Different Forms of Progress 6.5. Your Students Are Already Making Progress Chapter 7: Use the Power of Yet 7.0. The Power of Yet 7.1. The Power of Yetis Chapter 8: Choose Challenge 8.0. Mindset Matters Most When There Is Challenge 8.1. When Students Pick the Easier Path 8.2. Encouraging Students to Choose the Challenging Path 8.3. Mindset Through the Learning Pit Chapter 9: Be Careful with Praise 9.0. Different Types of Praise 9.1. To Praise or Not to Praise? 9.2. Praise and Cheating 9.3. Praise and Self-Efficacy 9.4. Praise, Rewards and Mindset 9.5. When to Praise 9.6. Praise in Practice Chapter 10: Flopped Learning 10.0. Flops Lead to Enhanced Learning 10.1. Flopped Products 10.2. Flopped Feedback 10.3. Flopped Parents 10.4. Effort Is Not Enough 10.5. Resilience and Grit 10.6. Flopped Previews 10.7. Flopped Leading PART VI WHAT NEXT? Chapter 11: Growth Mindset Lessons 11.0. Learning Challenge Lessons 11.1. How Much Can Emily Influence Her Future? 11.2. Was Usain Bolt Born to Be an Olympic Champion? 11.3. Is Challenge Interesting? References Index

About the Author

James Nottingham is co-founder and director of Challenging Learning, a group of companies with 30 employees in 6 countries. His passion is in transforming the most up-to-date research into strategies that really work in the classroom. He is regarded by many as one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and inspirational speakers in education. His first book, Challenging Learning, was published in 2010 and has received widespread critical acclaim. Since then, he has written 6 books for teachers, leaders, support staff, and parents. These books share the best research and practice connected with learning; dialogue; feedback; the learning pit; early years education; and growth mindset. Before training to be a teacher, James worked on a pig farm, in the chemical industry, for the American Red Cross, and as a teaching assistant in a school for deaf children. At university, he gained a first-class honours degree in education (a major turnaround after having failed miserably at school). He then worked as a teacher and leader in primary and secondary schools in the UK before co-founding an award-winning, multi-million-pound regeneration project supporting education, public and voluntary organisations across north east England. Skolvarlden (Swedish Teaching Union) describes James as "one of the most talked about names in the world of school development" and the Observer newspaper in the UK listed him among the Future 500 - a "definitive list of the UK's most forward-thinking and brightest innovators." Bosse Larsson is a Swedish teacher, trainer and concept developer. He has extensive experience developing creative thinking and learning with primary and secondary students, and is a sought-after keynote speaker and workshop leader. He started working as a science teacher more than thirty years ago and has for over a decade been supporting secondary school dropouts and students with special educational needs. Responding to many requests to share his ideas, Bosse began his own educational consultancy in 2007 ( He is also a long-time consultant for Challenging Learning. Through this work, he aims to broaden, break and change thought-patterns about education, organisation and leadership. He still works part-time in local schools where he collaborates with teams in action learning cycles and individual teachers through lesson planning and giving feedback after lesson observations. Bosse has given presentations, keynotes and led workshops both nationally and internationally, and has worked with staff training from pre-school to further education. The main themes of his work focus on creativity, future skills, thinking habits, thinking tools, Dweck's mindset, metacognition, motivation and feedback.


"Nottingham and Larsson's new book is accessible and inviting. It will help you navigate the world of mindset concepts and research, and focus on actions that can have high impact. I respect these authors and enjoyed the clarity and good humor they bring to their book-as will you. I highly recommend Challenging Mindset."


-- Carol Dweck, Lewis & Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology

"Changing mindsets is hard - but if it can be done, the directions are throughout this wonderful book. The book talks about when, how, and where growth mindsets matter, and it brings a refreshing perspective to this important but often misunderstood notion."

-- John Hattie, Laureate Professor * Carlton, Victoria, AUS *
"James Nottingham and Bosse Larsson offer an important and useful new addition to the ongoing conversation about mindset first introduced by Carol Dweck. Too often, theories such as mindset get reduced down to the simplest dichotomies and ideologies. Here, Nottingham and Larsson challenge our own mindset about the very idea of mindset theory itself, showing us what is possible if we really understand the theory and use it to challenge ourselves and our students." -- Jim Burke, Teacher and Author, Common Core Companion Series
"Mindset is a word that has been thrown around a great deal over the years. Unfortunately, most educators who use the word didn't understand the real context behind it. Nottingham and Larsson not only focus on the nuances of mindset, but offer practical strategies on how to use the research correctly so students can succeed! Challenging Mindset will be an important read for a very long time." -- Peter DeWitt, Ed. D., Author, Collaborative Leadership, Blogger, Finding Commong Ground
"James Nottingham and Bosse Larsson have the unique ability to activate the thinking of their readers by bridging the divide between research and practice. The "Now Try This" sections encourage readers to engage with heart, head, and hand to relate what they are learning to their current practices and to share those ides with colleagues. They have masterfully deepened our understanding of Carol Dweck's work and aligned her thinking to their work around The Learning Challenge." -- Julie Smith, Author, Evaluating Instructional Leadership

"Nottingham and Larsson provide a much needed clarification of growth mindset, grounded in research and illustrated through relevant classroom examples. The authors provide practical tools and strategies to support educators in the correct application of mindset to impact student learning. A must read for all educators!"

-- Cathy Lassiter, Author, Everyday Courage for School Leaders

"Wow. Each one of the books in the Learning Challenge series deepens my understanding of how to be a better teacher, leader, and parent. We have all read the research on the importance of having a growth mindset but here lies a complete guide with visuals, strategies, and explanations for how to make it come to life in the classroom."

-- Julie Stern, Author, Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding

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