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Squeaky has a growth mindset, because she believes Raymond can learn.
Mindet theory is an education theory having to do with learning. When you have a growth mindset, you believe that your intelligence and abilities can develop over time. When you have a fixed mindset, on the other hand, you think that you were born with an innate and set amount of intelligence and ability and that is it.
The way that we know that Squeaky has a growth mindset is in her attitude toward Raymond. Most people would just assume that he is a person with disabilities, he was born that way, and he cannot learn to do anything. In fact, Squeaky does consider taking care of Raymond hard work.
I don’t have much work to do around the house like some girls. My mother does that. All I have to do in life is mind my brother Raymond, which is enough.
Squeaky is fiercely protective of her older brother. She will beat up anyone who teases him. She lets him be himself, even if that means running a pretend mule team down the street. She looks out for him physically too, of course. She makes sure he does not run into the street in one of his “fits of fantasy.”
Her ability to run fast is very important to Squeaky. It is a skill she has cultivated through hard work over time. It took extreme dedication, which Squeaky has. She has a hard time accepting at first that others have it. When Gretchen comes in second place, Squeaky develops a new respect for her erstwhile rival. She also notices Raymond running, and realizes that he too, has skill.
And it occurs to me, watching how smoothly he climbs hand over hand and remembering how he looked running with his arms down to his side … it occurred to me that Raymond would make a very fine runner. Doesn’t he always keep up with me on my trots?
Squeaky realizes that Raymond has potential. She has the growth mindset. She understands that just because he does not have all of the same level of intelligence as everyone else, it does not mean he cannot learn. It does not mean he can’t develop skills. He has already learned how to run alongside her. When she ran the race against Gretchen, he kept up with her. Raymond can run. Raymond may not be like everyone else, but there are things Raymond can do.
Finding this new skill of Raymond’s, and being open-minded enough to acknowledge it, makes Squeaky just as happy as winning the race. She decides to coach Raymond and help him develop the new skill. This is not something every person would recognize. People who do not have a growth mindset, who believe that intelligence is fixed and innate, would discount Raymond and assume there is nothing he can learn. Squeaky has proven that Raymond can learn, and she is now determined to teach him.
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