Mathnasium of Rolling Hills Estates September News from Our Mathnasium Centers

Sep 26, 2019 | Rolling Hills Estates

A Message From Our Director

A main objective at Mathnasium is to instill a Growth Mindset in each student. The concept of a growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck and popularized in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. In recent years, schools and educators have started using Dweck’s theories to inform how they teach students. A mindset, according to Dweck, is a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves. 

Believing that you are either intelligent or unintelligent is an example of a mindset. People may also have a mindset related to their personal or professional lives—for example, “I’m a good teacher” or “I’m a good parent.” People can be aware or unaware of their mindsets, according to Dweck; regardless, mindsets have a profound effect on learning achievement, skill acquisition, relationships, professional success, and other critical life dimensions.
Dweck’s educational work focuses on the distinction between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. Again, according to Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
Dweck’s research suggests that students who have adopted a fixed mindset—for example, the belief that they are either “smart” or “dumb” and there is no way to change this—may learn less than they could or learn at a slower rate. Furthermore, their tendency is to shy away from challenges (since poor performance might either confirm that they can’t learn, if they believe they are “dumb,” or indicate that they are less intelligent than they think, if they believe they are “smart”). 
Dweck’s findings also suggest that when students with fixed mindsets fail at something, as they inevitably will, they tend to tell themselves they can’t or won’t be able to do the task (“I just can’t learn Algebra”), or they make excuses to rationalize the failure (“I would have passed the test if I had had more time to study”).
Alternatively, “in a Growth Mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,” contends Dweck. Students who embrace growth mindsets—the belief that they can learn more or become smarter if they work hard and persevere—may learn more, learn it more quickly, and view challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills. In our next newsletter, we will explore more on how parents can instill a growth mindset in their children at home. More to come! 
Team Member Spotlight

Nick Kotelko has loved math since he could remember. As a student growing up right here in Southern California, he always enjoyed the thrill of solving puzzles, and finding different solutions to problems in math and in other situations in life. This passion led him to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematical Sciences from UC Santa Barbara in 2007. Go Gauchos! It was while at University that he developed a passion for helping eager young minds to excel at math. He began instructing local students, and together he found ways to discover the wonders of objective problem solving. Working with many students since then, it became abundantly clear that math can be excelled at by anyone with the will to succeed.


Favorite food: Chinese Food

Travel: Greece

Fun Fact: I play guitar and like to see live music