Building Intellectual Capacity Barbara Taylor and Mary Jane Schott

Building Intellectual
Barbara Taylor and Mary Jane Schott
Senior science program coordinators
November 2007
Why do some students—who seem to
have the skills and ability to do well—
do poorly in school?
Why do some students—who do not seem to
have the skills and ability to do well—achieve at
levels that are much higher than the achievement
levels of their seemingly more capable
Learning Expectations
Participants will:
• Recognize how preconceptions about the malleability of
intelligence can affect student achievement.
• Examine a lesson that is designed to encourage students
to make connections between increased effort,
participation in collaborative learning experiences, and
higher achievement.
• Examine how high-yield instructional strategies in
lessons can also increase student achievement.
Off to the Races, Part 1
Messages That Motivate: How
Praise Molds Students' Beliefs,
Motivation, and Performance
(in Surprising Ways)
Dr. Carol S. Dweck
Department of Psychology, Stanford University
This article is Chapter 3 (pages 37–60) in Joshua Aronson
(Ed), Improving Academic Achievement: Impact of
Psychological Factors on Education. NY: Academic Press.
As you read the article, look for answers to the
following questions.
What is the effect on teaching and learning when students
and/or teachers believe that…
• assumptions about intelligence impact student success?
• there is a distribution of intelligence in the population
ranging from "very smart” to “very dumb”?
• everyone can increase their intelligence with hard work
and effort?
(Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007)
Research: Implicit Theories of Intelligence
(Dweck, 1999)
Entity Theorists: Your intelligence is innate and
essentially unchangeable.
•Intelligence is fixed
•Trait largely determined by nature
Incremental Theorists: Your intelligence can be
increased through effort and persistence.
•Intelligence is malleable
•Quality that can be increased through nurture
Students who view intelligence Students who view intelligence
as being a fixed entity tend to: as being malleable tend to:
! Believe that they only have a
certain amount of intelligence
and that it cannot be changed
! Worry about failure and
question their abilities
! Avoid challenges and seek
easy successes
! Desire to look smart at all costs
! Pass up valuable learning
! Focus on performance goals
! Believe that intelligence can be
cultivated through learning
! Pursue and enjoy challenges
! Care less about “looking smart”
! Engage in self-monitoring and
! Focus on learning goals
The Effect of Teachers’ Theories of Intelligence
on Pedagogical Practices
(Good, Dweck, & Rattan, 2006)
Teachers oriented towards
an entity theory of math
intelligence endorse
teaching practices that
• Convey a fixed view of
• Reduce opportunities to
work on challenging
• De-emphasize the role of
effort in outcomes
“While recognizing that there can be real differences
between individuals in the speed of their intellectual
growth, and without denying that there may be
differences in capacity, we suggest that a child’s focus
on assessing these differences can have unfortunate
consequences for motivation. In contrast, a focus on
the potential of students to develop their intellectual
capacity provides a host of motivational benefits.”
(Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007, p. 260)
Categories of Instructional Strategies
That Affect Student Achievement
 Identifying similarities and differences
 Summarizing and notetaking
 Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
 Homework and practice
 Nonlinguistic representations
 Cooperative learning
 Setting objectives and providing feedback
 Generating and testing hypotheses
 Questions, cues, and advance organizers
Off to the Races, Part 2
Day II Objective: Today you will begin to design a boat that will move across the
water faster than the boat used in the first test. You will design a boat that can be
constructed from the materials listed below under the heading “Materials for Boat
Construction. You may not use any materials that are not on the list.
Materials Part II:
2 Identical Fans with speed controls
Enough water to fill the rain gutter
Large stable table
2-1.5 meter long Rain Gutters with end caps
2 Stopwatches
Chart paper for intelligence discussion
Permanent Marker
Water resistant paper
Individual Boat Design Blackline Master
Team Boat Design Blackline Master
Materials for Boat Construction
Copier type paper
Post-it notes
10 cm thin metal wire
Transparent Tape
Procedure: Part II
1. Use the information that the class gathered about the boats used in the first test
and the materials list to design a boat that is faster than the fastest boat used in the
first test. You are allowed to design any type of boat that can be built with the
materials on your list. You can include a sail or change the shape of the boat. Use
the page titled “Individual Boat Design” to make a sketch of your new design. Under
your sketch, explain why you believe that your design will be faster than the fastest
boat from the first test.
2. Share your design with your team.
3. As a team, you can only use one design. On the sheet titled “Team Boat Design”,
make a sketch of the boat the team decides will be the one that is entered into the
next test. Everyone must agree on this design and it must include some part of each
person’s individual design. On the lines under the sketch, explain why this design
was the one chosen by the group.
Reflection on the Lesson
How does the lesson help students understand
• learning something new can feel uncomfortable in
many different ways?
• effort is the key to learning, but not all effort is equal?
• effective effort can include metacognition (thinking
about how they think), goal setting, and ways to
maintain motivation?
Reflecting on Teaching
If I accept the following statements,
• Students should gain a new perspective on the idea of
• Everyone can increase their intelligence with hard work
and effort.
• Through hard work and effort, your brain physically
then what are the implications of this information on my
Contact Information
[email protected]
[email protected]
Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of
intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study
and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246–263.
Dweck, C. S. (2002). Messages that motivate: How praise molds students' beliefs,
motivation, and performance (in surprising ways). In J. Aronson (Ed.), Improving
academic achievement. New York: Academic Press.
Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-Theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and
development. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis/Psychology Press.
Good, C., Dweck, C. S., & Rattan, A. (2006). The effects of perceiving fixed-ability
environments and stereotyping on women’s sense of belonging in math. Unpublished
paper. Barnard College, Columbia University.
Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction that works:
Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA:
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.