Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference. Research shows that when students develop what she has called a ‘growth mindset’ then they believe that intelligence and ‘smartness’ can be learned and that the brain can grow from exercise. The implications of this mindset are profound -- students with a growth mindset work and learn more effectively, displaying a desire for challenge and resilience in the face of failure. On the other hand, those with a ‘fixed mindset’ believe that you are either smart or you are not. When students with a fixed mindset fail or make a mistake they believe that they are just not smart and give up. Such students frequently avoid challenge, preferring instead to complete easier work on which they know they will succeed.
Key findings include:
New evidence that students’ beliefs about their brains drive learning
Susana Claro and Susanna Loeb report on a new study that uses data from five school districts in California that measure growth mindset for students in 3rd to 8th grade to assess the extent that students with stronger growth mindset learn more in a given year than those without. It finds that traditionally underserved students – including students in poverty, English learners, Hispanics, and African-American students – are less likely to hold a growth mindset. Yet, for all groups, students with a growth mindset learn more over the course of year than otherwise similar students who do not have a growth mindset. While this study is just a first step in assessing the effects of mindset on a large population of students and the role of schools in building mindset, the findings provide initial evidence that it may be beneficial to monitor the levels of growth mindset in the population and convey to students that the brain is malleable.
Growth Mindset and the Common Core Math Standards
December 3, 2013, Edutopia
A brief article on growth mindset, and its relationship with the Standards for Math Practice, and their importance in helping students become successful in math.
In offering a variety of instructional strategies and activities, growth mindset teachers maximize opportunities for multiple interactions with mathematics. A classroom steeped in the SMPs allows students to actively discover, interpret, analyze, process, practice and communicate -- all of which have the potential to move information from working memory into long-term memory, ultimately expanding brainpower and mathematics intelligence.
Read more here.
You’re all ‘math people,’ but you just didn’t know it
Jennifer L. Ruef writes in the San Francisco Chronicle about how and why we are all math people. Includes great resources for parents.
Students Benefit from Learning That Intelligence Is Not Fixed
By Ingfei Chen July 2014, Mind/Shift
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.
Read more here.
Find out more...
Mindset Introduction for Parents - Spanish
Introducción a Mindset Para Padres - español
Teaching Mathematics for a Growth Mindset Part 1: Recent Findings on Student Ability By Jo Boaler (reprinted from NCSM Newsletter, Summer, 2013)
Setting up Positive Norms in Math Class - suggestions from Jo Boaler
Fostering a Growth Mindset Is Key to Teaching STEM - by David Miller, US News
How to Learn Math - for all ages
How to Learn Math is a free class for learners of all levels of mathematics. There are 6 sessions, the first three are approximately 10 minutes long and the last three approximately 20 mins long. It combines really important information on the brain and learning with new evidence on the best ways to approach and learn math effectively. Many people have had negative experiences with math, and end up disliking math or failing. This class will give learners of math the information they need to become powerful math learners, it will correct any misconceptions they have about what math is, and it will teach them about their own potential to succeed and the strategies needed to approach math effectively.
Growth Mindset for Math - For Teachers
A free course that introduces teachers to a growth mindset and provides them with practices to help promote it in their classroom.
Find out more: MindsetKit.Org is a free set of online lessons and practices designed to help you teach and foster adaptive learning mindsets.
A number of children's books can help spark a conversation about growth mindset.
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain
by JoAnn Deak Ph.D. and Sarah Ackerley
Teaches children that they have the ability to stretch and grow their own brains. It also delivers the crucial message that mistakes are an essential part of learning. The book introduces children to the anatomy and various functions of the brain in a fun and engaging way.
The Most Magnificent Thing
by Ashley Spires (Author, Illustrator)
For the early grades, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity.
by Peter H. Reynolds (Author, Illustrator)
This book is about not believing in not believing in your self, starting small and then moving on and then surprising yourself in what you can do. The book is dedicated to his 7th grade math teacher.
Available in Spanish.
Disponible en español - el punto
by Oliver Jeffers (Author, Illustrator)
A funny book about about being stuck, trying different and creative things, and getting unstuck.
Available in Spanish.
Disponible en español - Atrapados
Jo Boaler on the Good and Bad of Mathematics Education
On February 25, 2013, Professor Jo Boaler delivered a SCOPE Brown Bag lecture in which she presented evidence from research and practice that many students in the United States go down a damaging path in mathematics. According to Boaler, this path affects about half the population and leads to low achievement and poor self-esteem.
Watch the video here.