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Carol Dweck Reminds Parents, Teachers How to Best Interpret Growth Mindset Research

Carol Dweck Reminds Parents, Teachers How to Best Interpret Growth Mindset Research

Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck has led the research in the importance of doing away with “fixed mindsets” and instead fostering a “growth mindset” that encourages students that they can achieve academic goals with hard work.

According to the Hechinger Report, Dweck believes that many parents and teachers are misinterpreting the meaning behind her growth mindset research and offers some ways to avoid this misunderstanding.

One of the biggest mistakes Dweck feels that teachers and parents make when trying to foster the growth mindset is by praising effort without progress.

"'Many parents and teachers have interpreted Dweck's work to mean that they should praise a child's effort, such as 'I'm proud that you tried really hard,' or 'I see how much effort you put into this.' Or teachers sometimes give A's on assignments if a child has attempted all of the questions, regardless of whether the answers are good or not,” said the Hechinger Report.

Praise, Dweck says, should instead be tied to outcome through praising technique and strategy that merits improvement and success.

Other times, parents and teachers will similarly only focus on effort and not outcome by simply telling students to “try harder.”

Deck says this, too, ignores strategy and the skills needed to complete a task by assuming the student isn’t already putting in effort.

Dweck refers to this as “nagging” over the intended positive reinforcement.

Dweck also scoffs at “mindset jargon,” which she says are nothing more than buzzwords that also ignore the mechanics behind helping students succeed.

"To do it right, Dweck says that many teachers have to change how they teach, offering more critical feedback and giving students opportunities to revise their work. Dweck cited a recent Stanford Ph.D. thesis by Kathy Liu Sun, now a professor at Santa Clara University, which found that students continued to have fixed-mindset thoughts in math class when their teachers mouthed growth mindset phrases but didn't change their teaching practices,” the article said.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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