Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.
Presented by the Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS) at Stanford University, this quick video makes the case for research-based student resources and teacher professional development that help to mold and sustain successful academic growth mindsets. Learn more about this important work, which is free to educators, at the PERTS website.
Reposted from the Disappointed Idealist:
Carol Dweck’s broad theory is that students tend to fall into two camps : those who attribute their outcomes to external/ unchangeable factors such as intelligence or ability, and those who attribute their outcomes to internal, changeable factors, such as effort and perseverance. The latter group, she argues, then do rather better than the former when they come across challenges. This is not quite the same as the version of Dweck which is gaining traction rather quickly in the English education system, which is closer to the quote I took from Dylan Wiliam’s blog above : that the only determinant of outcomes is effort and perseverance. Dweck can’t be blamed for that, and I can see how her theory could, in the hands of those of us who don’t have to meticulously footnote our tweets and policy statements, gradually metamorphose into the idea expressed above and in many other places.
At some point in the past, the not-irrational idea that it might be useful to try using different methods in lessons to get the message home, became the concept of “learning styles” which had to be shown in each lesson. In the last two years, the perfectly sensible idea that occasionally students might benefit from a little more in-depth consideration of their own work, has become a mountain of compulsory double-marking, endless DIRT and colour coded dots. The growth mindset is in danger of heading that way; I see too much wholehearted adoption of an oversimplified, and thus inaccurate, stance towards student achievement, based within the profession on a well-meaning desire to promote a positive, inspirational message of hope, but outside the profession supported by those advocating a self-serving philosophy which justifies inaction and victim-blaming.
My objection is to the way in which Dweck’s conclusions are rapidly metamorphosing into something completely different, and thus reinforcing the set of existing bonkers principles which are largely shaping education policy. Dweck’s well-meaning and perfectly reasonable research may well end up producing toxic outcomes if we don’t nip it in the bud.
Reposted from Edudemic:
When you have a fixed mindset, you believe that at a certain point, what you have is all you’re ever going to have: You’ll always have a set IQ. You’re only qualified for the career you majored in. You’ll never be any better at playing soccer or dating or taking risks. Your life and character are as certain as a map. The problem is, this mindset will make you complacent, rob your self-esteem and bring meaningful education to a halt. In short, it’s an intellectual disease and patently untrue.
If you’re regularly praised for your intelligence by a teacher or parent, for example, you internalize that praise. It becomes a part of your identity. You work to prove yourself over and over again in just one area. If you’re then criticized or discouraged when you fail, you also internalize that negative feedback and try to avoid it at all costs. When something threatens your competence, you let it threaten you. Rather than take risks and make moves to grow in your understanding – which might mean you get things wrong or that your intelligence is called into question – you defend against having to grow because it might mean you’ll fail.
The growth mindset is the opposite of the fixed: It thrives on challenge and sees failure as an opportunity for growth. It creates a passion for learning instead of a hunger for approval. It seems like a mere platitude to say “If you believe you can do something, you can.” It’s not an easy belief because building practically any skill is hard. When setbacks, crushed expectations, and critics gather and compound, it’s much easier to ascribe ability to talent and give up. Dr. Carol Dweck, however, has found that the platitude is correct. Her research has shown a correlation between accepting intellectual limitations and actually learning more!
Jackie Gerstein has developed a Personal Accountability and Reflection checklist of nine questions to promote personal accountability and reflection as they develop their growth mindset. As Jackie explains, “When speaking of a growth mindset, a fixed mindset also needs to be discussed and described. Fixed mindsets are associated with avoiding failure at all costs.” Read more here.
Reposted from MindShift:
“Teaching students that intelligence can grow and blossom with effort – rather than being a fixed trait they’re just born with – is gaining traction in progressive education circles. And new research from Stanford is helping to build the case that nurturing a “growth mindset” can help many kids understand their true potential.
The new research involves larger, more rigorous field trials that provide some of the first evidence that the social psychology strategy can be effective when implemented in schools on a wide scale. Even a one-time, 30-minute online intervention can spur academic gains for many students, particularly those with poor grades. The premise is that these positive effects can stick over years, leading for example to higher graduation rates; but long-term data is still needed to confirm that.
Earlier, well-designed tests of simple and relatively inexpensive growth-mindset interventions had surprisingly shown improvements in students’ grades over weeks or months. For instance, promising results from one famous experiment – an eight-session workshop in 91 seventh graders in a New York City school – led psychology researchers Carol Dweck and Lisa Blackwell to start up Mindset Works, a company that offers a computer-based program called Brainology.”