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The Fixed Vs Growth Mindset
Individuals with “Fixed” mindset tend to believe that their intelligence is pre-determined and cannot be significantly modified throughout their lifespan. Very often, these individuals tend to blame their genes for the lack of success they experience in life. They would also avoid attempting challenging tasks as failure would be prove of their lack of ability.
Individuals with “Growth” mindset on the other hand tend to belief that their intelligence is dynamic. They believe that they have the ability to determine how their intelligence grow and failures to them are just stepping stones towards success.
The terms “Fixed” and “Growth” mindset were conceived by Professor Carol Dweck (2006) and her colleagues in their research on achievement and success.
Failure and Iteration in Robotics Education
Progressing beyond learning the basics of robotics, children become inventors in their own rights. Like the process of inventing, there are no “singular” solutions that dictate how a robot should be built and programmed. This means that these young roboticists will be required to take risks in exploring and experimenting with their ideas till they reach a working solution. The entire process takes them through many lessons learnt from ideas that did not succeed, each culminating in the final working idea.
This tedious process would require them to break out of any preconceived notion of their abilities and be willing to explore solutions beyond their initial considerations. This iterative process would reinforce their belief that with perseverance and a growth mindset towards setbacks, they can succeed.
Resilience and Perseverance Building
At Nullspace, we believe that a child’s robotics journey should be centred upon self-exploration.
When imparting the basic concepts of robot construction and design, we first bring our students’ attention to key principles in isolation through a hands-on approach. Next we facilitate their building process by ensuring that these principles are followed. Since no step-by-step guides were used in the process, these principles will be remembered in association with the feeling of assembling pieces of LEGO® components and not with the visual prompt of a guidebook. Students will then recognise that the successfully built robot is the fruit of their perseverance and a combination of all the lessons they have learnt from each set back they faced in the process.
This teaching pedagogy is used in both our LEGO® robotics and Arduino inventor programs, ensuring that not only do our students grow in knowledge and ability as a roboticist, they also develop a “Growth” mindset to help them succeed in other aspects of their lives.
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.