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Developing a Growth Mindset in Students. A Methodology and Toolset to Support Life-Long Learning.


Career planning with students cannot be left to one report or one year level. It must be embedded into regular activity and encompass far more than 19th century career matching approaches.

Aptitude tests and career matching mean students often leave school with a fixed mindset believing that their past, current and future will be determined by their IQ, Aptitudes and matched abilities (see Carol Dweck, Stanford University). On the other hand students who have a growth mindset (IBID) believe their past, current and future performance is determined by their ability to learn from mistakes, persist when things are difficult and exert the effort required to succeed.

Career-life education in schools must encourage the development of a growth mindset with consistent learning experiences at key points across their educational experience.

Our training programs for career practitioners equip individuals with the following:

  • An integrated (Yrs 7 to leaving) personal and career development tool set.
  • Measures & benchmarks skill development and student progress.
  • Involves parents in strategies to support the school’s educational initiatives.
  • Easily develops individual learning and career pathway plans – encouraging the development of a growth mindset.
  • A cost-effective solution for school budgets.
  • Tools for all personnel involved in student education, support and pathway development.

Putting these Tools into Practice

Recently Careers Fast Track was contracted by Brimbank/Melton LLEN to deliver an Employability Skills Project in four schools for Years 11 and 12 students in the Brimbank and Melton region.

A program was developed and implemented across three modules – Personal Development, Learning and Work Exploration and Career Building.

BMLLEN Project Manager, Merrill Farmer, had the following things to say post program:

The Careers Fast Track program used a range of psychometric assessments, motivational tools and engaging activities delivered by dynamic presenters and provided students and staff with high quality teaching and learning workbooks and resources. The effort and thoughtful preparation put into the development of a contemporary and unique program was obvious.The schools found Careers Fast Track to have a very flexible approach. The delivery was both fun and realistic. Students developed confidence in their own employability skills, including production of a meaningful resume and a high impact mock interview program. They had a clear action plan at the end of the program and were given the encouragement and support they needed to commence achievement of their goals. They were given incentives for learning and completing tasks and were rewarded for achievement of competencies. The overwhelming majority of students evaluated the program as highly valuable.

What were the Results?

We asked all students from the four participating schools before and after the delivery of this career program “to what extent are you now more confident of your career direction?”. As shown in the graph below, before the program a total of 99% of students said the extent to which they were confident in their career direction was either not at all, slightly or medium. After the program 82% of students now felt either mostly or extremely confident in their career direction.

student results

What does this Mean for You?

We rewire our brain when we give more emphasis to a new thought over an old one. (J.B.Arden 2010)

Using this toolset to support students to think positively about their career-life future is only the start. The real work is to keep nurturing these positive narratives to ensure students develop a vision for their future filled with hope and optimism.  These positive career-life narratives will equip students to navigate the many career-life challenges that characterise the 21st century labour market.  This is why we provide an integrated suite of career-assessment tools to support a structured career-life development solution for all students (years 7 to leaving) and parents.

Author: Nigel Phillips


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