student working at computer

Alex Quigley discusses recent studies that add to the knowledge about interventions to teach students about a growth mindset and provide guidance for future efforts.  Alex discusses recent research from the University of Portsmouth and says:

“There were some positive findings of two months gain in learning relative to those students who didn’t receive the growth mindset message intervention. Overall though, there is doubt that the results showed definitive statistical significance. That is to say that the growth mindset interventions may not be the cause of the improvement made by students of a couple of months. Still, given the relatively light intervention (six short sessions on study skills with a growth mindset emphasis – in comparison with a control group who had the equivalent sessions, but on general study skills), it provides us with enough reason to further pursue ‘growth mindset interventions’. Relevance for schools: Psychological interventions can be slippy things. Finding a ‘growth mindset attitude’ as being the direct cause of improvements in student attainment is no doubt tricky, but as such interventions can prove very quick, cheap and easy, then we don’t stand to lose much in the pursuit. Investing too much time and money in ‘growth mindset programmes’ won’t likely prove a silver bullet – as research has found: ‘they are not magic‘. Perhaps then better stealthy, short interventions are the best bet. ‘…

This ‘Changing Mindsets‘ study isn’t the only recent growth mindset orientated research. The study, ‘Mind-Set Interventions Are a Scalable Treatment for Academic Underachievement’, by Paunesku, Walton, Romero, Smith, Yeager, Dweck (2015), has also shown promise regarding the impact and scalability for growth mindset focused interventions. Some of the messages are similar to the study above: both were student focused interventions; they were both relatively short interventions (though the Dweck study used technology); they both focused on the message that intelligence is malleable etc….

Now, both studies recognise their limitations and, like most good research, they recommend replication, better future studies that stand on their shoulders and testing their findings in different contexts. My view: the message of the malleability of the human brain and the power of effort and resilience is, as the Americans would say, a no brainer. How we convey that message, however, may need work and some subtle design and application. Quick, well targeted and stealthy growth mindset interventions may well prove our best bet given the growing evidence. …”

Read the full story at Growth Mindset – More Evidence