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The Growth Mindset Approach: A Threshold Concept in Course Redesign




Boyd, Diane


Growth mindset (Dweck, 2006) is the simple but powerful belief that intelligence is not fixed, but dynamic, and can develop over time. When faculty and students embrace the idea that learning is elastic, it permanently transforms how we approach learning and, thus, is a “Threshold Concept,” a transformative and irrevocable way of thinking about something (Meyer, Land, & Cousin, 2006). This combined approach to course design workshops (growth mindset and threshold concepts) provides a lens through which educational developers can work with students and colleagues because it illuminates bottlenecks or sticking points for faculty in the course design process and helps them shift their focus away from content delivery to active, transformative learning. The author argues that the growth mindset approach is a powerful concept in learning and educational development, describes specific workshop activities that help promote a growth mindset for faculty, and contends that such an approach represents a threshold concept for them and, thus, their students.