Growth Mindset is Everywhere!

So, I’m on my 7th week of maternity leave. I write a lot in my head, but very rarely on paper these days. I hate typing one handed, and I’m always holding some child or another.

One thing I’ve been meaning to do for a long time is to add a section to the website of books that I’ve found particularly helpful in explaining research to parents and teachers. I’m reading one of them right now (Proust and the Squid, by Maryanne Wolf for those interested). I’m on p. 46. Have been for some time now. It’s an excellent read, but, well, not the sort of book that I’m reading a lot of these days.

No, I’m reading Rosie Revere, Engineer, by Andrea Beaty. I bought it because my nearly 5 year old thinks that all you can do with math is be a teacher of math. Whoops. Children do learn by imitation, I suppose.

So instead of reviewing a book on math learning (please read The Number Sense by Stanislas Dehaene for that – so, so, so good), I’m reviewing a children’s book. Chock full of hormones as I am, it made me cry. Why? I read this:

“She turned round to leave, but then Great-Great-Aunt Rose
grabbed hold of young Rosie and pulled her in close
and hugged her and kissed her and started to cry.
‘You did it! Hooray! It’s the perfect first try!
This great flop is over. It’s time for the next!’
Young Rosie was baffled, embarrassed, perplexed.
‘I failed,’ said dear Rosie. ‘It’s just made of trash.
Didn’t you see it? The cheese-copter crashed.’
‘Yes!’ said her great aunt. ‘It crashed. That is true.
But first it did just what it needed to do.
Before it crashed, Rosie…
before that…
it flew!’

Your brilliant first flop was a raging success!
Come on, let’s get busy and on to the next!’
She handed a notebook to Rosie Revere,
who smiled at her aunt as it all became clear.
Life might have its failures, but this was not it.
The only true failure can come if you quit.”


Mistakes are great! I’m not ever sure my kid believes me when I say so. Or, she believes me but figures then a mess is good enough – no need to keep up the hard work. In an entity mindset world, it’s a hard job to try to parent or teach children using growth mindset language. So here’s a book that does just that.

Oh, while also showing a young girl as an engineer, which I think is the take home that we’re supposed to get out of this. Which is good, OF COURSE, because we fight stereotype threat with every breath in our bodies over here, but people. GROWTH MINDSET.

So this gets added to the shelf. May all of our children “dream the bold dreams of a great engineer.”


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