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Researcher ripple effect as ‘Growth Mindset’ benefits set to flow to children

Researcher ripple effect as ‘Growth Mindset’ benefits set to flow to children

Published:16 March 2017

CQUniversity Research Fellow Dr Delwar Akbar sparked imaginations at a recent Community Partners meeting of Communities for Children Capricorn, which is funded by the Australian Government and facilitated by national children’s education charity The Smith Family.

While the gathering was small the outcomes could be big.

CQUniversity Research Fellow Dr Delwar Akbar sparked imaginations at a recent Community Partners meeting of Communities for Children Capricorn, which is funded by the Australian Government and facilitated by national children’s education charity The Smith Family.

Participants were enthralled by his core message that a growth mindset can impact individual and organisational behaviour, flowing on to micro and macro-level economic prosperity and organisational success.

They were also enthusiastic about the potential to introduce a growth mindset to children, especially since a fixed mindset enables feelings of powerlessness and learned helplessness. In contrast, a growth mindset underpins feelings of empowerment and drives motivation and achievement.

Dr Akbar illustrated how the simple device of changing words can change mindsets. For example, instead of saying ‘I’m not good at this’ you can ask ‘what am I missing?’.

The Communities for Children - Capricorn Project Officer, Frances Hulley said the presentation sparked thinking about how mindsets impact the bigger issues affecting society.

“I am personally very interested to learn that brains don’t grow neural connections magically; they grow them by hard work and not giving up,” she said.

Dr Akbar urged his audience to practice ‘iterative feedback’ and to keep focusing on improving.

“Find out what works what doesn’t work, then why it doesn’t work and seek out challenges,” he said.

“Identify strategies to address challenges and focus on it … work hard and one day you will work very smartly!”

Dr Akbar explained how to align key stakeholders with an organisational growth mindset in order to engage the wider organisation.

He stressed a growth mindset culture could boost trust, engagement, innovation and organisational ethics, as well as stronger company commitment and support for risk-taking.

The CQUni researcher challenged his audience to think about organisations and whether they believed in changing their ability over time and space, or where fixed in their beliefs.