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June 16, 2021

Moving Beyond Growth Mindsets

Let’s be honest.  

I had math anxiety. 

With math, I struggled to find the correct answer and to show my work so the teacher could see how I got it (often without getting the answer). I believed my brain just didn’t work that way, and I wasn’t told differently, I was told that not everyone can achieve in all things. 

To that end, I went through grades PreK-12, earned my Bachelor’s Degree (failing math once), and entered my adult years believing I could not do math. My physical and mental reactions to math were visceral: my chest would seize up and I would panic, making it even harder to work through a math task.  

Dr. Jo Boaler, Stanford professor extraordinaire and author of Limitless Mind, prompted me to experience a true paradigm shift. Thanks to Dr. Boaler’s new research, I now understand my brain can change to learn any content, including math

The new research around brain science indicates how fixed or growth beliefs can change the brain in both mental and physical ways. To go even further, understand that the research indicates the power of beliefs influences all sorts of learning. Kids with diagnosed learning disabilities have overcome them. Students with “math anxiety” discover different ways to make themselves successful at math. In an elderly population, a study of the negative beliefs about aging shows that a change in our mindset can reverse some of aging’s negative effects. Any internalized messages about how we limit ourselves based on our beliefs are unfounded, so the sky is truly the limit. All of these examples involve shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. 

Learners Edge is thrilled to offer a course focusing on the implications of a growth mindset for students, teachers, and really, anyone around the power of belief. Course 5136, anchored around Boaler’s book, Limitless Mind, promotes the brain as malleable and primed for growth. You’ll learn how to become more aware of fixed language and practices so you can convert them to positive approaches. Explore the ways collaboration and other multi-dimensional approaches directly impact brain growth. Through research and stories around productive struggle, neuroplasticity and a connected brain, Boaler makes a strong case for embracing and practicing growth mindset. 

Although I still feel anxious about math, Dr. Boaler has taught me the belief in brain limitation means my math anxiety is unfounded! I’m not eager to dive in with both feet to math at the moment, but I’m heartened to know that I can make my brain learn what I want. 


Course Title: 5136 – Beyond Growth Mindsets for Learning Without Limits

Graduate Credits: 3 semester credits

Grade Levels: PreK-12+

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