Students are more likely to be productive learners when they realize that the second (or third) try may go better than the first.
Failure can lead to valuable insights about what does and doesn’t work, and a new strategy may be all it takes to master a concept. That’s because the brain is capable of growth and change, and no one is born with a fixed set of competencies and weaknesses that can’t be developed, shifted, and strengthened.
Those are the conclusions of a growing body of research on growth mindset. Coupled with research on the importance of student engagement and belonging, it makes up the field of academic mindsets, which are strategies schools emphasize to help students get more out of their classroom work.
A new set of online lessons aims to help schools apply that research in practical ways. The Mindset Kit is “a set of free online resources that introduces learning mindsets, describes why they are so important, and details what educators and parents can do to help students develop them,” said Stanford University’s PERTS research center, which released the kit this week. (PERTS stands for the “Project for Education Research That Scales.”)
Here’s how PERTS described the aim of the Mindset Kit in a press release:
Decades of research have established a powerful link between students' beliefs about learning and their performance in school. When students have learning mindsets—for example, when they believe that intelligence is something they can develop and feel they belong and can succeed in the classroom—they are more motivated, engaged, and resilient. Studies have also shown that certain messages can help students develop learning mindsets and, in turn, do better in school."
The kit includes separate courses on the growth mindset tailored for teachers, for parents, and for “teaching teams or for leaders who want to bring growth mindset work into their schools.” It also includes a special 75-minute course on using growth mindset in math classrooms. This subject is frequently mentioned as a tough one in conversations about learning and failure.
I would be curious to hear what working educators think of these resources. If you check them out, please let me know if they are helpful and practical.
More on growth mindset:
- Do Growth Mindsets Spell S-U-C-C-E-S-S for National Spelling Bee Competitors?
- ‘Growth Mindset’ Gaining Traction as School Improvement Strategy
- Researchers: Measures of Traits Like ‘Grit’ Should Not Be Used for Accountability
- Urban Districts Embrace Social-Emotional Learning
A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.