IBDP curriculum: How students benefit through a growth mindset

Shubhdarshani Mitra
Jul 21, 2023
Learning, School

As a parent, you may have heard the phrase ‘growth mindset’ during school orientations and at parent-teacher meetings. So, what exactly is a growth mindset? It may be helpful to picture it as a line, much as you would imagine a number line. At one end of the line is the fixed mindset – a belief that how much we're able to learn is predetermined by our environment, intelligence, and to a degree, our opportunities or lack thereof. 

At the opposite end of the line is the growth mindset. Among different types of mindsets, a growth mindset is a belief that one's abilities and intelligence can be developed and improved through effort and perseverance. It’s a mindset where individuals understand that their abilities can be cultivated through hard work, effective strategies, and seeking opportunities for growth. 


Why does the growth mindset matter?

At GIIS, students who pursue the IB Diploma Programme are encouraged to adopt a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset fosters a love for learning and a willingness to take on new challenges, promoting resilience, as students with this mindset bounce back from setbacks with renewed determination. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a student who has adopted a fixed mindset may shy away from risk. They may feel reluctant to try again after failing. Earmarks of the fixed mindset include:

● Giving up on tasks when they become difficult

● Feeling that feedback from others is not helpful

● Believing that intelligence is fixed and cannot be developed

● Avoiding challenging work to reduce the risk of failure

● Believing that working harder doesn't change the outcome

As a parent, it's easy to see why developing a growth mindset is important for student success and for success later in life. 

But what shapes the way our children feel about themselves?

At the core, mindset is moulded by many factors, including experiences, personal beliefs, perceptions and cues from other people. We begin developing our mindset early in life. It's heavily influenced by the people we spend time with, including our parents, teachers, coaches and more. And we tend to carry those beliefs with us as we age unless we make a conscious effort to change.

Benefits of the growth mindset

“The IBDP is designed to foster a growth mindset in students. Its challenging and interdisciplinary curriculum encourages students to think critically, analyse problems from multiple perspectives, and seek innovative solutions. The programme places significant emphasis on inquiry-based learning and research, which supports the development of a growth mindset by promoting independent thinking and a willingness to explore new ideas,” says GIIS SMART Campus IBDP coordinator Ms. Deepa Chandrasekaran.

● Students who have a growth mindset are more likely to challenge themselves. They are more likely to set ambitious goals – academically and beyond – persist in the face of challenges, and ultimately achieve higher levels of success. 

● Developing a growth mindset requires self-awareness and conscious effort. It involves recognising and challenging limiting beliefs, embracing a positive attitude towards learning, seeking feedback and constructive criticism, and adopting effective learning strategies. 

● If they fail, they'll simply try again. They see little or no defeat in failure. Rather, they view it as a necessary part of the learning process. These students are less likely to set unrealistic expectations and more likely to approach problems with an experimental attitude. Instead of, "This is never going to work", they think more in terms of "How can I approach this differently to make it work?”

● Students with a growth mindset also seem to feel better on a psychological level than students who hold a fixed mindset. 

How parents can encourage a growth mindset

There's a lot you can do at home to help your child develop a growth mindset, but the most important among them is to develop one of your own. To be effective at helping a child reach their full potential, you must believe it's possible first. To this end, simply changing the ways you offer feedback can be immensely helpful. 

● Instead of praising your child for how smart they are, praise them for the effort they put into the task. And shift your focus to hone in on the process your child took to accomplish a goal rather than the outcome they achieved. 

● Compliment your child's persistence and use of strategy as they work through problems and devise answers, and shift the focus from what they achieved to how they achieved it. 

● Encourage your child to take academic risks and to make mistakes. After all, the more mistakes they make, the more resilient they become. And mistakes are wonderful learning opportunities.

How IBDP teachers foster a growth mindset in GIIS

At the core of the IBDP programme lies the Learner Profile, a set of attributes that resonate with the principles of a growth mindset. By emphasising qualities such as reflection, open-mindedness and risk-taking, the IBDP empowers students to overcome challenges, persevere in the face of adversity, and continuously enhance their skills and knowledge.

“At GIIS, our faculty members demonstrate a growth mindset by openly discussing their own challenges, setbacks and learning experiences. By showing a willingness to learn and improve, teachers become role models for their students. The faculty gives students specific and actionable feedback to help them understand their strengths and areas that need improvement. Students are encouraged to set learning goals for themselves rather than focusing solely on grades. Help them see that improvement and gaining new knowledge are essential aspects of the learning process.

“We create a classroom culture where mistakes are viewed as natural and valuable learning experiences. We encourage students to reflect on their mistakes and use them as opportunities for growth and understanding. We provide them opportunities to take intellectual risks and explore unfamiliar topics or perspectives. We create a safe and supportive learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions, sharing ideas, and seeking help,” adds Ms. Chandrasekaran.


The teachers at GIIS incorporate growth-mindset language, such as "I believe in your potential to improve" or "mistakes are opportunities to learn” in their teaching.

By consistently applying these strategies, our IBDP faculty helps to create a classroom culture that promotes a growth mindset, leading to more resilient, motivated, and successful students who are better equipped to face academic challenges and beyond.

Also read: IBDP 2023 results: GIIS students forge ahead to success

The IB Diploma Programme is a rigorous two-year pre-university curriculum that emphasises intellectual, personal, and social development. It offers a broad and balanced curriculum, fostering 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, research skills, and an international perspective. It aims to prepare students for success in higher education and to become compassionate, open-minded global citizens.

For more information on IBDP at GIIS, please feel free to contact our admissions counsellors.

Shubhdarshani Mitra

Shubhdarshani has over 10 years of experience in content creation, curation and editing. She has worked for Indian newspapers, school magazines and international news websites where she worked closely with the leadership on the execution and communication of the content strategy. Aside from work, she’s a passionate B&W photographer and storyteller.

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