Growth Mindset Incubator: A Case Study


Liz Katz
NAC Architecture

Faith Eakin
Lead Program Manager
Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas (BFI)

BFI/Public School
Student TBD


1 Learning Units (LU)

How applies to HSW:

Imagine the possibility of literally being transported into a new type of learning environment where there are endless possibilities. Growth Mindset is an idea developed by Stanford researcher Carrol Dweck – opposing the idea of the Fixed Mindset which asserts that people are born with certain characteristics (i.e. – being smart, strong, kind, adventuresome, or not), and they don’t really change. Growth Mindset allows a person to believe in the possibility of changing their pre-conceived characteristics. It allows students to recognize and see through stereotypes. “A growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your abilities through hard work; good strategies; and input, help, and mentoring from others.” —Carol Dweck The concept of Growth Mindset is becoming more widely used in education among teachers and students, and is consistently being improved and applied in both educational theory and practice. Challenges exist in transferring the language and strategies taught through a growth-mindset approach to everyday interactions with teachers, parents, and others outside the classroom. The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas (BFI), an educational non-profit in Seattle, fosters an environment that gives students the confidence to take Growth Mindset into the real world. They are also striving to bridge this disconnect by building a Growth Mindset environment outside of school that reinforces these core concepts for students, families, and community volunteers, encouraging students to apply Growth Mindset even more broadly. Our presentation will outline the concept of Growth Mindset v. Fixed Mindset and allow participants to identify their own personal mindsets. We will explore the unique variety of flexible and adaptable spaces that hide behind the storefront of Greenwood Space and Travel Supply shop, and how they promote Growth Mindset. The audience will hear from the Lead Program Manager at BFI, Faith Eakin, on how they are creating writing based programs that motivate and inspire kids to learn and want to return again and again. The audience will also hear from students how they use the space, and what they learn at BFI at their school and home. Liz Katz with NAC Architecture will explore in depth how the design and spaces of BFI’s unique learning environment promotes social and emotional learning. She will share strategies on how existing 21st century design ideas can be incorporated, in both new and existing schools, to create similar spaces that promote Growth Mindset incubators.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will be able to distinguish similarities and differences between growth mindset and fixed mindset as they relate to the design of the learning environment
  • Participants will be able to give examples of different design solutions they can incorporate into educational architecture that promote Growth Mindset.
  • Participants will be able to compare and describe how both Growth Mindset and Social and Emotional Learning are being used by teachers and students and the spaces needed to facilitate these learning strategies.
  • Participants will be able to distinguish how Growth Mindset incubators—spaces that support social and emotional learning—can be incorporated in both new and existing school design.
Primary Competency:

Educational Visioning: Exhibits an understanding of best and next practices related to educational leadership, programming, teaching, learning, planning and facility design. Establishes credibility with educators, community members and design professionals while conceiving and leading a community-based visioning process. Demonstrates the ability to articulate the impact of learning environments on teaching and learning and uses that ability to facilitate a dialogue that uncovers the unique needs and long-range goals of an educational institution and its stakeholders – translating that into an actionable written/graphic program of requirements for the design practitioner.

Primary Domain:

Learning: Content of this session/workshop will focus on how we learn and/or how the physical environment responds specifically to various methods of instruction, pedagogies, learning styles, or learning trends.

Secondary Domain:

Toolbox: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the approaches, methods and applications when transitioning from design and concept into reality, actual existence through quality performance, execution and/or product.