What is Growth Mindset?

Cape Ability

At the heart of our approach is a deep belief in growth mindset. This is the belief that you can ‘grow’ your intelligence in any subject or skill. You can achieve anything with the right conditions for learning! There has been much scientific research which proves that our brains have the capability to continue to grow and develop in any area of learning. When we learn new things, tiny connections between brain cells actually grow stronger and multiply. Things you once found hard become easy, the more your brain cells grow and connect.


Previously, people thought intelligence was fixed. They took ‘intelligence tests’ which labelled them as only capable of what the results indicated – giving them a LIFELONG expectation. However, this approach is proven to be wrong – these tests only gave a snapshot of where a person was up to at that time – they were not a predictor of future achievement.

Neurons in the brain can make new connections all the time which means anyone can achieve a sound knowledge and understanding of any subject, as long as they choose and desire to do so. You can ‘grow’ your intelligence in any area!

Fixed or Growth Mindset?

The opposite to having a growth mindset, would be fixed mindset which would indicate that people have a fixed level of learning that they can never surpass. Comments like, “I was never any good at maths,” or “He is not a natural artist,’ perpetuate this myth. Thinking about a child in this way or worse, suggesting it to them, hems them in and shuts them off to areas of learning before they have a chance to succeed.

Within schools, constantly ability grouping children and giving them differentiated tasks which put limits on what certain groups can achieve, can stifle a growth mindset. It sets preconceived ideas about what certain children can achieve.

Genetics do Play a Part

We are all born with different aptitudes for different subjects or skills, based on our genetic heritage. In the past, this has lead us to give up on certain subjects or write them off. However, this natural aptitude is not an indicator of future success. The growth mindset research shows that anyone can reach a given level of proficiency with the right amount of good teaching, effort, practise and belief in themselves. The less genetically predisposed we are, the more hard work it will take. Conversely, even with natural aptitude, these same learning attitudes – time, effort, belief and practice are crucial to achieve a higher level of understanding.

So what gets in the way of growing your intelligence? How can our children achieve most effectively?

The Cape Ability Growth Mindset Series

Our approach develops 8 key learning capabilities which, when used together, give a child the optimum chance of connecting those neurons. These are:

· Concentration

· Enthusiasm

· Curiosity

· Reflection

· Resilience

· Co-operation

· Willingness to make mistakes and learn from them

· Creativity

Each story shows the character developing one of these capabilities. These stories give teachers and parents a ‘vehicle’ to communicate these attitudes to children in a fun, engaging way.

Within each story, children learn what each capability entails and the key skills needed to enhance it.

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