Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Note 3: Your Students Have Malleable Skills

Friday October 23, 2015 by Anonymous (not verified)

I know that most of your students have been on Fall Break this week.  I do not pretend that most of you also took one, although I can hope.  At the very least, you had a respite from preparing for a class session and this week begins the second half of the semester.  It feels, to me, as though it has barely started. 

I know that  many of you are assessing, together with your students, how the first half of your class as gone, and how the second might be better.  I applaud that, and so will your students; even if you do not change much, most of them will welcome the conversation with you for what it is:  a sincere conversation about teaching and learning in your class.  To that end, I’ve attached an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education about Stanford psychologist and Yale alum Carol Dweck, who is renowned for her studies of how children and young adults learn.  In this particular article she discusses how we can help college students - even ones as accomplished as those who attend Yale and Stanford – learn how to think about their mental skills as malleable rather than fixed.  It’s an easy read, but an intriguing one, I think.

Thanks so much for all the conversations we’ve shared to date.  I’m looking forward to many more.

With warm regards,

Nancy S. Niemi, Ph.D.
Director, Faculty Teaching Initiatives

Supplementary Materials and Resources

Carol Dweck says colleges could improve their students' learning if they relentlessly encouraged them to think about their mental skills as malleable.

Contact Information 

Contact Dr. Niemi via email Nancy.Niemi@yale.edu or phone 203.432.8644 with thoughts about the collection and/or to receive these notes in your inbox.


learning, skills, assessment