Mindsets, Parenting and Praise

Our Head of Junior School, Monique Miotto shares an overview of our recent seminar on Growth Mindset with Lorraine Davies.

On the last day of Term 3, an enthusiastic group of 40 parents joined Lorraine Davies for an introduction to Growth Mindsets.


(image by Nigel Holmes)


This YouTube clip by Matthew Metoyer gives a dynamic presentation of the differences between the two mindsets.

Lorraine also shared research from Carol Dweck that showed these mindsets influenced children’s learning behaviours and their motivation to learn.

The special influence of praise on either mindset was brought home to us when hearing the words of children who were given person or process praise when completing problem solving tasks. Children who received praise for their efforts were motivated to seek out challenges and succeed, while children who were praised for their intelligence, avoided more challenging tasks, as can be seen in this video:

Lorraine explored the connection between person praise and the popularity of the self-esteem movement. Our desire to make children feel loved causes us to praise them frequently and for their person, their intelligence or their product, all likely to encourage a fixed mindset. Out of love for our children, we have also tried to shield them from the feeling of ‘struggle’ rather than responding in a way that helps them to embrace struggle and see it as a positive experience that leads to learning success.

We learned that the presence of fixed and growth mindset traits ‘cross all boundaries’ and affect all of us, children and adults alike. We completed a mindset survey to help us understand our own mindsets and how they might influence us as parents. Lorraine mentioned that Carol Dweck had described herself as ‘a fixed mindset person in recovery’ which was very reassuring. Lorraine encouraged us to be patient with ourselves and to embrace the challenge of using growth-mindset praise with our children.

If you are keen to practise growth mindset praise you might find these tips and short videos for parents from Mindset Works useful.

Lorraine will return to Kilvington next year to run an evening parent seminar and continue the exploration of mindsets, the science underpinning it and the positive strategies we can use as parents to encourage a growth mindset in our children. Lorraine will also be  working with our teachers as we explore the implications of growth mindsets for our teaching practice and how we can work together to help the children and young people in our care experience the empowerment of a growth mindset.