DO TEACHERS REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT A GROWTH MINDSET MEANS FOR TEACHING PRACTICE?

 

Carol Dwecks research on growth and fixed  ‘Mindsets’  has seen a recent resurgence in interest and popularity  here, but one wonders whether teachers understand what it might mean for their practice.

This is what Dweck says about mindset: “We found that students mindsets- how they perceive their abilities –  played a key role  in their motivation and achievement and we found that if we changed their mindsets we could boost their achievement. More precisely students who believed their intelligence could be developed (ie growth mindset ) outperformed those who believed their intelligence was fixed (ie fixed mindset)”

But  it is worth noting that John Hattie found ,in his seminal work ‘Visible Learning’ – that growth mindset  only had an effect size of.19 well below the hinge point of .40 . So not much  then compared to, for example,  providing feedback, which is .73

I have never been entirely sure about the implied  science based precision in  Hatties  work, and  given the confusion  over what a growth mindset actually means  it’s a bit of a dangerous game to  seek to measure its effect in this way, I would have thought.  What confusion, you may ask? Well its pretty clear that to some teachers growth mindset translates pretty much  to  ‘more effort’.  But Dweck reminds us that it isn’t just about more effort. She has said” Perhaps the most common misconception is   simply equating growth mindset with effort”

So if its not just effort, what is it? Dweck talks about new strategies , seeking help from others when  you  are stuck  and “ a repertoire of new approaches” which frankly isn’t all that helpful.  Maybe the problem is that I am stuck  with a fixed mindset (with too many cognitive biases to boot ). But  I suspect teachers  need a little more help in understanding how  to help learners  develop a growth mindset and what  that might mean  for their classroom practice.

Some suggestions for Teachers ?

http://www.teacherstoolbox.co.uk/T_Dweck.html

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