Growth Mindset Quotes for Student Discussions

Growth Mindset Quotes for Student Discussions

Explore 20 growth mindset quotes perfect for use as discussion starters in the classroom, along with example response questions.

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Using Growth Mindset Quotes

Teachers promote a growth mindset on a daily basis through reading books, the classroom environment and your expectations of your students. It is just as important to explicitly teach what a growth mindset is and how your students can positively develop their own mindset.

Using a quote, such as the ones below, as a discussion starter is another way to promote a growth mindset. You can help your students pick apart a quote to see how it relates to themselves and their mindset. I have added a few response questions for each quote to get you started.

You can also get your own copy of the growth mindset quotes, in color or black and white.

Growth Mindset Quotes for Student Discussions

1. Helen Hayes

The expert at anything was once a beginner. Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes (1900 – 1993),  an American actress, was one of a handful of people who won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award.

Response Questions
Explain what Einstein means.
What does ‘training of the mind to think’ mean?

2. Albert Einstein

Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think! Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist known for his influence on the philosophy of science.

Response Questions
What is the meaning of this quote?
How do you become an expert at something?
Why does being an expert at something involve failure?

3. Vincent Van Gogh

I am always doing what I cannot do yet. In order to learn how to do it. Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) was an influential Dutch post-impressionist painter.

Response Questions
How can you enjoy the process even if you make failures?
Why do you think people fear trying something new?
What would happen if you only try things that were easy?

4. Jean-Paul Sartre

We are our choices. Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 – 1980) was an influential French philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, activist and biographer.

Response Questions
What does this quote mean?
Why are the choices we make important to our mindset?

5. Confucius

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. Confucius

Confucius (551–479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician.

Response Questions
What do you think Confucius means?
Does the speed you work through a process help you improve?
How can you enjoy the process even if you make failures?

6. Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) wrote her famous diary while hiding from the Nazi’s during World War II.

Response Questions
Why do you think people fear trying something new?
How can you improve the world?

 

7. Henry Ford

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right. Henry Ford

Henry Ford (1863 – 1947) was the American founder of the Ford Motor Company.

Response Questions
What does Henry Ford mean?
What’s the difference between a fixed or growth mindset?

8. Thomas Edison

I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) is known as America’s greatest inventor.

Response Questions
Why does being an expert at something involve failure?
Why is failure important?
How can we use failure to create success?

9. Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

Christopher Robin is a character from the Winnie-the-Pooh stories created by A. A. Milne.

Response Questions
Do you agree with this quote? Why?
Do you think you are braver, stronger and smarter than you think?

10. Thomas Fuller

All things are difficult before they are easy. Thomas Fuller

Thomas Fuller (1608 – 1661) was an English clergyman and historian known for his writings.

Response Questions
Why does being an expert at something involve failure?
What would happen if you only try things that were easy?

11. Audrey Hepburn

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’ Audrey Hepburn

A film and fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) was also a humanitarian.

Response Questions
How can something negative turn into a positive?
Do you agree that nothing is impossible? Explain.

12. Marva Collins

If you can’t make a mistake, you can’t make anything. Marva Collins

Marva Collins (1936 – 2015), an American educator, is known for her work in an impoverished area of Chicago.

Response Questions
How do you feel when you make a mistake?
How does making a mistake help you grow?

 

13. J.K. Rowling

We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is a British author known for writing the Harry Potter books.

Response Questions
Why does being an expert at something involve failure?
Why is failure important?
How can we use failure to create success?

14. Wayne Gretzky

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky is a famous Canadian ice hockey player often called the greatest player ever.

Response Questions
What does Wayne Gretzky mean?
How is our mindset affected when we don’t try anything because of our fears?

15. Albert Einstein

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist known for his influence on the philosophy of science.

Response Questions
What do you think Einstein meant?Do you think you can learn or do new things without making mistakes? Explain.
Why do we make mistakes when we learn new things?

16. Oprah Winfrey

I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most influential women in the world because of her TV work and philanthropy.

Response Questions
Describe what Oprah Winfrey meant by ‘the process’.
How does going through a process help you improve even if you make mistakes?
How can you enjoy the process even if you make failures?

17. Kid President

If at first you don't succeed... you're normal! Kid President

Kid President’s (aka Robby Novak) goal is to make the world awesome.

Response Questions
Why is not succeeding normal?How do you feel when you make a mistake?
How could talking it through with someone else help?

18. Kermit the Frog

Just because you haven’t found your talent yet doesn’t mean you don’t have one. Kermit the Frog

The most famous Muppet character, Kermit the Frog is known for Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. 

Response Questions
Who can you learn from?
What new things do you want to learn?
What new ideas will you try?

19. Confucius

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail. Confucius

Confucius (551–479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician.

Response Questions
What do you think this quote means?
Why is it important to get up after a fall?
How does this quote relate to your own work?

20. George Bernard Shaw

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950) was an Irish playwright, critic and activist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925.

Response Questions
Why is change important to making progress?
Why is it important that we are willing to change our mind?

In Conclusion...

Think about how you can use these or other quotes in your classroom. This post is about using them as discussion starters, but you can also use quotes: 

  • as writing prompts
  • as part of a motivational display
  • to inspire art or craft projects
  • make a tag cloud to analyse the most common words
  • to compare and contrast to explore similarities

What do you think of using quotes in your classroom? How would use them to inspire your students?

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Further Reading

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More Books to Explore

The Children’s Library Lady has over 150 picture books on a large variety of topics. You will find book, author and illustrator information, as well as resources. You can also browse themed books lists and explore all the books on the website. 

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