In this episode of MEP, Eduardo Briceno, the Co-Founder and CEO of Mindset Works, talks about the definition of growth versus fixed mindset, where people get it wrong a lot of times in understanding what this means.
Eduardo Briceno is the Co-Founder and CEO of Mindset Works, which he started with Carol Dweck, Lisa Blackwell and others, to help people develop as motivated and effective learners. Mindset Works now serves hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of teachers and students to help them cultivate student and teacher ownership of their own learning.
Eduardo has spoken at numerous industry conferences for school leaders, teachers, students, professional developers, college professors, business executives, and policy makers. He delivered a popular TEDx talk on the growth mindset, and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as NPR and Education Week.
Prior to Mindset Works, Eduardo was an Education Pioneers Fellow at New Leaders, where he worked on programs to identify, document, and reward effective school leadership practices. Before that, he was a Principal with the Sprout Group, a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, where he was part of the technology investment team and served on several for-profit and non-profit boards. Prior to Sprout, Eduardo was an investment banking analyst with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. He grew up in Caracas, Venezuela.
Eduardo holds MBA and M.A. in Education degrees from Stanford University, and bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Most important, he continues to enjoy lifelong learning every day.
(02:17) Eduardo’s background
(06:15) Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, has been so influential to me. It’s probably the most influential book I’ve read over the last 5 – 10 years. To me it acts as what I continue to strive for personally as I grow as a learner, as a person, and hopefully a performer in doing the things I want to do. The thing that I always try to do now is try to catch myself when I have fixed mindset thoughts and try to constantly grow and make sure that I’m using my growth mindset voice.
(08:51) What is a fixed mindset, what is a growth mindset, and what has the research told us?
A growth mindset is an understanding that we can improve ourselves, we can improve our abilities, we can improve our intelligence and become smarter. A fixed mindset is viewing abilities as fixed.
(11:37) That’s a really important distinction that resilience and grit are by-products of having this growth mindset. How do you approach the work that Angela Duckworth is doing at the University of Pennsylvania with grit. And all this focus is on grit and perseverance and effort. I feel that people know what fixed and growth mindset is, but it almost doesn’t fit into people’s understanding of some of this research and how pivotal it is to get to this point. So how do you square that circle?
(13:45) A lot of the research in the book talks about what’s been done with students in math class, in approaching challenges, and how, if a student with a fixed mindset takes a test and doesn’t do well, it’s a personal offense to them, and they’re not smart enough, they tend to back down and don’t persist through that challenge. However, a student with a growth mindset will say, this is a learning moment for me, what can I do to tweak the way that I approach this for next time, I’ll grow from this. And they tend to continue to work at it and see it just as a piece of the equation. Where does the science of neuroplasticity fit into that research, or do they work in parallel, in your opinion?
(16:22) I’m curious about the work that you’re doing with administrators, professors and teachers and students, the work that you do everyday. Are you seeing any new models where growth mindset or developing a growth mindset in students is at the core of those models? Or are you seeing your work more as a professional development-type work? I’m interested to see if there’s going to be more integration of the building of the growth mindset as flowing through the curriculum rather than just being added on afterwards.
(23:25) What are some of the exercises you do in your work with instructors and administrators to effectively build the growth mindset into the curriculum or into the faculty’s mindset?
(26:04) What is the next phase of the work that you and Mindset Works are doing? What is your next goal or outcome that you’re focused on?
(28:45) What book has most influenced you and why?
(29:33) When you hear the word successful, what is the first thing that comes to mind and why?
(31:05) Do you feel like you’ve always had that happiness-driven attitude or did you kind of grow into it and had to unlearn it after your formal education?
(35:46) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?