Nick Rose, who teaches psychology at Turnford School in England, discussed Carol Dweck’s theory of growth mindset in a way that teachers can use it in their classrooms and in coaching individual students. Rose’s blog Evidence into Practice regularly discusses scientific findings that are useful for education professionals. Examples are ‘Can teachers stop believing in nonsense?’, a critical discussion of the value of metastudies and the working memory model.
One of the barriers to opportunities afforded by education is the mindset of our students. There’s a considerable body of evidence supporting the view that implicit theories of intellect can undermine or improve student motivation in school. Whether the student directs their efforts trying not to look ‘dumb’ or actively engages with challenging and difficult work also appears to affect the progress they make in school and their attainment in exams. However, these experimental findings may be trickier to apply effectively within a whole-school context and there are some risks associated with trying to enthusiastically promote a ‘growth’ mindset as some kind of magical solution for the problems of poor motivation.
Learned helplessness and attribution theory
Carol Dweck is synonymous with the terms growth and fixed mindset. She developed her ideas during the 1960s studying the phenomenon of ‘learned helplessness’ in animal motivation.
These animal studies found that when exposed…
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