Essex_LA_17.9.10 - Growth Mindset Education Action Zone

Intelligence: Fixed or Growth?
Raising Aspirations and
Achievement with Carol Dweck’s
Growth Mindset
Gerry Miller
Context of Carol Dweck’s research
Research into influences on student learning –
Professor John Hattie
Carol Dweck’s research into how students view
themselves as learners – Growth v Fixed Mindset
Promoting Incremental Learners (Growth
Mindset) with our students in North Tyneside
Context of Carol Dweck’s Research
1954 Reuven Feurstein’s revolution in the teaching of
intelligence (see “Changing Children’s Minds” by Howard
Sharron, 1994)
1967 Michael Scriven introduces the
difference between Formative &
Summative Assessment
1988 Crooks demonstrates that there is little
evidence that classroom assessment
assists in the learning process
1998 Black & Wiliam’s “Inside the Black Box”
highlights the potential for assessment to provide
feedback that students use to improve learning
1999 John Hattie’s “Influences on student learning”
2000 Carol Dweck’s “Self-Theories: Their Role in
Motivation, Personality and Development”
AfL for
2006 Carol Dweck’s “Mindset”
2009 John Hattie’s “Visible Learning”
Influences on student learning
Mastery Learning
Challenge of Goals
Aims & Policies of the School
Ability Grouping
Peer Tutoring
Teacher-Student Relationships
Mastery Learning:
All children can learn when they focus on mastering
tasks in a collaborative environment.
Appropriate learning conditions in the classroom
 High levels of cooperation between classmates;
 Focused teacher feedback that is both frequent
and diagnostic;
 Variable time allowed to reach levels of
Influences on student learning
Teacher-Student Relationships Mastery Learning
Challenge of Goals Peer Tutoring
Aims & Policies of the School
Ability Grouping
Influences on student learning
John Hattie 1999-2009 – research from 180,000
studies covering almost every method of innovation
Effect Size
 Feedback
 Teacher-Student Relationships
 Mastery Learning
 Challenge of Goals
 Peer Tutoring
 Expectations
 Homework
 Aims & Policies of the School
 Ability Grouping
“The most powerful single influence
enhancing achievement is feedback”
Quality feedback is needed, not more feedback
Much of the feedback provided by the teacher to
the student is not valued and not acted on
Students with a Growth Mindset welcome
feedback and are more likely to use it to improve
their performance
The most powerful feedback is provided from the
student to the teacher
Expert teachers constantly look for feedback
from students and other teachers about their
Assessment for Learning:
Formative assessment in the classroom
Four main aspects:
Quality of questions & classroom talk
Sharing the learning objective and success
criteria with learners
Quality of feedback and ensuring learners act
on the feedback
Peer and self-assessment
Collaborative Classroom Climate where learning is
not competitive and children are motivated by the
belief that they can improve their performance
Carol Dweck’s Self-Theories
Their Role in Motivation, Personality &
Development (Psychology Press, 1999)
Carol Dweck’s self-theories
Carol Dweck has done research over the
last 30 years with children and young
adults in the USA
She is particularly interested in how
students view themselves as learners
Their self-theory is likely to have a major
effect on their self-belief, their motivation
to learn and their resilience
OFSTED – outstanding grade descriptor
The pupils acquire knowledge, develop understanding and learn
and practise skills exceptionally well.
Pupils demonstrate excellent concentration and are rarely off
task, even during extended periods without direction from an
They have developed resilience when tackling challenging
activities in a range of subjects.
Their keenness and commitment to succeed in all aspects of
school life and abilities to grasp opportunities to extend and
improve their learning are exceptional.
Progress is at least good in each key stage, key subjects and
for different groups and is exemplary in some.
Carol Dweck’s research into selftheories has shown most people
have one of two mindsets
Fixed Mindset
 Growth Mindset
The Fixed Intelligence Mindset
The British education system is founded on the
belief that intelligence is fixed
Grammar Schools are attainable for a few
working class children who are particularly bright
Some Comprehensive Schools attempted to
change this through mixed ability teaching, but
most soon gave up
We still label children as “high ability” or “low
ability” from a very early age as if ability cannot
be changed
88% of children placed in sets or streams at age 4
remain in the same groupings until they leave
school (Annabelle Dixon, Forum 2002)
Carol Dweck’s Mindsets Terminology
Growth Mindset
Fixed Mindset
Incremental Learners
Mastery Oriented
Entity Learners
Helpless Learners
Self-Theories: Entity(Fixed) v Incremental(Growth)
Carol Dweck - Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality and
Development, Psychology Press, 1999
I believe that
intelligence is not fixed
My intelligence can be
improved through
I thrive on challenge
I throw myself into
difficult tasks
I am self-confident
I can ignore the
low aspirations of
my peers
I react to failure
by trying harder
I engage in selfmonitoring
I have learning goals
I like feedback on
my performance so I
can improve
About 40% of US students hold an incremental theory of ability
Slide 17
Self-Theories: Entity(Fixed) v Incremental(Growth)
Carol Dweck - Self-Theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality and Development,
Psychology Press, 1999
I don’t like challenge
I don’t want to risk
looking stupid
I am vulnerable
I believe that
intelligence is fixed
I was born bright/not
very bright
I tend to conform
to the low
aspirations of my
I react to failure
by switching off
and avoiding the
I like easy
performance goals
and being told I’ve
done well
About 40% of US students hold an entity theory of ability
Easy praise is not the answer - it makes the situation worse
Slide 18
Do you recognize these traits in
students you teach?
What promotes motivation for learning?
The hallmark of successful individuals is that
they love learning, they value effort and they
persist in the face of obstacles.
In her book “Self-theories”, Carol Dweck presents
research that explains why some students
(incremental learners) display this growth
mindset and others (entity learners) do not.
She also shows how, in the right environment,
students can learn to become incremental
What promotes motivation for
Four Beliefs and Four Truths
about Ability, Success, Praise
and Confidence
(Carol Dweck – Self-Theories, 1999)
1. The belief that students with high ability
are more likely to display a growth mindset
You might think that students who were highly
skilled would be the ones to relish a challenge and
persevere in the face of setbacks. Instead, many of
these students are the most worried about failure,
and the most likely to question their ability and to
wilt when they hit obstacles
(Leggett, 1985)
2. The belief that success in school directly
fosters a growth mindset
You might also think that when students succeed,
they are emboldened and energized to seek out
more challenging tasks. The truth is that success
in itself does little to boost students’ desire for
challenge or their ability to cope with setbacks. In
fact we can see that it can have quite the opposite
(Diener & Dweck, 1978, 1980)
3. The belief that praise, particularly praising
a student’s intelligence, encourages masteryoriented qualities (growth mindset)
This is a most cherished belief in our society. One
can hardly walk down the street without hearing
parents telling their children how smart they are.
The hope is that such praise will instil confidence
and thereby promote a host of desirable qualities.
Far from promoting the hoped for qualities, this
type of praise can lead students to fear failure,
avoid risks, doubt themselves when they fail and
cope poorly with setbacks.
(Mueller & Dweck, 1998)
4. The belief that students’ confidence in their
intelligence is the key to mastery-oriented
qualities (growth mindset)
In a way, it seems only logical to assume that
students who have confidence in their intelligence
– who clearly believe they are smart – would
have nothing to fear from challenge and would be
somehow inoculated against the ravages of
failure. But many of the most confident
individuals do not want their intelligence too
stringently tested, and their high confidence is all
too quickly shaken when they are confronted with
(Henderson & Dweck, 1990; Dweck & Lin, 1998)
Carol Dweck interview (part 1)
Fixed & Growth Mindsets and where
they come from
Incremental Learners
(Growth Mindset)
Can focus on the idea that everyone, with effort
and guidance, can increase their intellectual
Less concerned with looking smart than with
learning something new
Even if they have low confidence in their
intelligence, they can throw themselves wholeheartedly into difficult tasks – and stick with
them (resilience)
Entity Learners (Fixed Mindset
also called Helpless Learners)
We encourage vulnerabilities in our students
when we try to boost their self-esteem in the
wrong way
Giving them easy successes and praising their
intelligence does not encourage a hardy, can-do
It fosters an overconcern for looking smart, a
distaste for challenge and a decreased ability to
cope with setbacks
How do we move our pupils from Entity
Learners to Incremental Learners?
Teachers are incremental learners – good role
Essential that we show them we believe their
intelligence is not fixed
We need to make them believe they can improve
We need to ensure they know how to improve
Collaborative classroom environment where
pupils take responsibility for their own learning
Pupils understand the Growth Mindset and how it
can help them
When failure undermines and when
failure motivates: helpless and
mastery-oriented responses (C.Dweck)
Y5 & Y6 students were given a series of
conceptual problems to solve
All children could solve the first eight problems,
with hints or training if needed
They could not solve the next four problems as
these were too difficult for their age
What happened to their thoughts, feelings and
actions when confronted with this failure?
Entity Learners
Quickly began to denigrate their abilities and
blame their intelligence for failures (“I’m no
good at this”)
Moments before they had been successful and
their performance was just as good as Incremental
Following failure, many now thought they could
not solve the problems they had just got right!
They also thought they had got more problems
wrong than right! (in fact they had got twice as
many right)
Their fragile self-belief quickly disappeared
Incremental Learners
Did not blame their intelligence for failure, in fact
most did not even see themselves as failing!
Tended to issue instructions to themselves on how
to improve performance (eg “I should try to slow
down and figure this out”)
Remained confident that they would succeed
Retained the positive mood that they had shown
while solving the easier problems
Retained their self-belief in the face of difficulty
(Dweck – Self-Theories 1999)
Research with College Maths
Students given three different types of praise:
1. Intelligence Praise
2. Control
3. Effort Praise
Number of problems solved on
Trial 1 (before failure) and
Trial 3 (after failure).
Effort Praise
Control Praise
Intelligence Praise
Trial 1
Trial 3
Proportion of students who misrepresented
their scores
Type of Praise Given
How can we promote a positive
view of failure & mistakes in the
A positive view of failure
Hard work means we are learning
We love hard challenges
Best mistake of the day
Celebrate good questions
Value good learning, not right answers
Teachers seek feedback from students
Special Task
As a Star Student you have a special task for this
 Your task today is to give a short summary to the class
at the end of the lesson
 You should mention 3-5 things that you have learned
 You can also include what you found most interesting
and most useful
During the lesson you should make notes to help
you prepare your summary
Things we have learned today:
The thing I found most interesting was:
The thing I found most useful was:
Today’s lesson was: Very challenging/quite challenging/
quite easy/very easy
Carol Dweck interview (2)
The right kind of praise
Process Praise
We need to praise:
 Effort
 Strategies that lead towards success
 Good learning processes (AfL strategies)
 Resilience
We should not praise:
 Intelligence, “cleverness” or talent
Bright Girls’ Helpless Responses
In Dweck’s research, students with the most
striking history of success were often the most,
rather than the least, vulnerable when confronted
with difficulties or failure. These are the bright
Bright girls were more vulnerable than lower
achieving girls (with boys it was the opposite)
and more concerned with looking smart.
How did a rigid setting system
affect students?
There was no evidence that setting raised
 But there was evidence that setting diminished
achievement for some students
 There was much evidence that the students who
were disadvantaged by this system were
predominantly working class, female or very
Jo Boaler, 1997
Using Carol Dweck’s Mindsets
with Y7 accelerated group
“I was surprised to find that two girls who
came out as clear entity learners from the
Carol Dweck Intelligence Theory
Questionnaire were the top two in the year
group in Midyis scores”
Louise Skinner, Longbenton College
High achieving girls and
A level Maths
A level Maths requires students to fail
intelligently (and learn from their failure)
Many high achieving girls (and boys as
well) cannot cope with this unless they are
incremental learners or unless their teacher
promotes a Growth Mindset
High Achieving Girls
Some bright girls tend to become used to
high achievement as a way to self-esteem
If they have a fixed mindset, they will tend
to judge themselves in comparison with
They will also tend to struggle with failure,
seeing it as a reflection on them, rather than
a natural part of learning
How to maximise student
achievement in a setting system?
Be honest with students about where they are and
what they need to do to improve
High expectations for students in low ability
Don’t assume that “top set” students welcome
Collaborative learning
Leave space in top set for promotion
Make sure they have the chance to progress to a
higher set, so move between sets twice a term
Avoid reinforcing the fixed mindset!
How do we move entity learners towards
becoming incremental learners?
Ask children when they feel smart……
When do you feel smart?
Entity learners:
 “When I don’t make mistakes”
 “When I finish my work first”
 “When I get easy work
Incremental Learners:
 “When I don’t know how to do it and its pretty
hard and I figure it out without anyone telling
 “When I’m doing school work because I want to
learn to get smart”
 “When I’m reading a hard book”
How do we move entity learners towards
becoming incremental learners?
Ask students how they define intelligence…
What does intelligence mean?
Entity Learners:
 “How smart you are”
 “Inborn ability to learn complex ideas”
 “The ability to survive with the least effort while
still doing really well”
Incremental Learners:
 “Studying hard”
 “The amount of knowledge you possess and how
you use it”
 “How much effort you put into something”
How do we move entity learners towards
becoming incremental learners?
Get Incremental Learners to give advice to
Entity Learners:
Q. “What advice would you give to a child in your
class who was having trouble with Math?
A. “Do you quit a lot? Do you think for a minute
and then stop? If you do, you should think for a
long time – two minutes maybe and if you can’t
get it you should read the problem again. If you
can’t get it then, you should raise your hand and
ask the teacher.” (second grade child)
Mindset by C Dweck
Examples/Role Models:
The Charlton Brothers
Both famous members of 1966 world cup winning
Bobby much more naturally talented
Jackie had to work much harder for success, but
determined to make the best of his abilities
Bobby quickly failed as a manager
Jackie achieved considerable success as a manager
Wilma Rudolph
Born prematurely the 20th of 22 children
Constantly sick as a child
Aged four, nearly died after a long struggle with double
pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio, which left her with a
mostly paralyzed left leg
Doctors gave her little hope of ever regaining full use of
the leg
For eight years she vigorously pursued physical therapy
Aged twelve, finally shed her leg brace
She had learned that physical skills can be developed
Took up basketball and track running with little success
Kept working hard and won three gold medals in sprints
at 1960 Olympics
Bruce Jenner 1976 Gold medalist
in Decathlon
“If I wasn’t dyslexic, I probably wouldn’t
have won the Games. If I had been a better
reader, then that would have come
easily…. And I never would have realised
that the way you get ahead in life is hard
A True story
Nine year old Elizabeth was on her way to her
first gymnastics competition. Lanky , flexible
and energetic, she loved the sport. Despite her
nervousness, she knew she was good, and she
felt confident about doing well. She knew
where she was going to hang her ribbon in her
room. In all her exercises Elizabeth did well,
but not well enough to win. By the end of the
evening, she had received no ribbons, and she
was devastated.
What would you do if you were
Elizabeth’s parents?
1. Tell her you thought she was best.
2. Tell her she did not deserve to win.
3. Reassure her that gymnastics is not a
matter of life or death.
4. Tell her she has got the ability, and she
will win next time.
5. Tell her she was robbed of a ribbon that
was rightfully hers.
What would you do if you were
Elizabeth’s parents?
Students’ Mindsets can be
changed quite quickly by:
Teachers valuing good learning rather than high
Sensitivity and flexibility with ability grouping
Focus on resilience & self-sufficiency
Classroom display of Growth Mindset attributes –
and regular referral to it
Process & effort praise
Role Play situations for Incremental Learners
Y6 children from Shiremoor PS
Incremental learner role-plays
Promoting an incremental
(growth) mindset
Students become more resilient, more open
to challenge, less teacher-dependent
 Less likely to see failure as an indictment of
their intelligence
 Self-esteem becomes less fragile so teachers
can “tell the truth”
 Students become more self-encouraging &
less dependent on praise and “success”
How we promote
an Incremental Mindset
Discuss the Incremental Learner & Entity Learner
Mindmap slides with children
Ask them when they feel smart & why
Discuss easy work and difficult work (which helps
you learn more?)
Discuss the importance of challenge and having a go
at difficult tasks
Why mistakes are good
Discuss sporting and other role-models
Discuss the Growth Mindset & Process Praise with
Focus on Learning
Celebrate and reward good
Best mistake of the day
Best question of the lesson
Self-sufficient student of the day
Cooperative learning (eg good group work)
Self-Sufficient Student!
•Self-Sufficient Student is the current reward scheme
invented by the Year 6 children, to enable them to
celebrate their changing successes in becoming
independent incremental learners/growth mindset.
Growth v Fixed Mindset 2006-7
New York New York
Y6 Students from New York PS
Talk about what it means to them to
be an Incremental Learner
Influences on student learning –
Transition Issues
“The greatest single issue facing the further enhancement of
student achievement is the need for teachers to have a
common perception of progress. When a student moves
from one teacher to another, there is no guarantee that he
or she will experience increasingly challenging tasks,
have a teacher with similar (hopefully high) expectations
of progress, or work with a teacher who will grow the
student from where he or she is, as opposed to where the
teacher believes he or she should be at the start of the
Visible Learning by Professor John Hattie (2009)
Good KS2-KS3 transition –
a key issue in EAZ
In Y7 the work may become harder in
some subjects (may be easier in others!)
Grading may become more stringent
Instruction may be less personalised
Students may initially be less clear about
what their teachers require of them
Classroom environment may seem less safe
What happens to entity learners after
transition to High School?
Carol Dweck’s research findings
Many showed a marked decline in their class standing
 Those who had done poorly in Y6 tended to continue to
do poorly
 Many who had been high achievers in Y6 were now
among the lower achievers
 Many who showed this decline had held high confidence
in their intelligence
 Were significantly more apprehensive about their school
work and tended to be more anxious about school in
 Did show some recovery in their standing in Y8 but were
still clearly below where they had been in Primary School
Henderson & Dweck 1990
What happens to Incremental Learners
after transition to High School?
Carol Dweck’s research findings
Many showed a clear improvement in their class
Those who had done well in Y6 continued to do
Many of those who had been among the lower
achievers in Y6 were now doing much better,
often entering the ranks of higher achievers
Many of those making the most impressive gains
were those with low confidence in their
Henderson & Dweck 1990
Norham College
Y7 progress in relation to Mindset 08-09
% students making expected
How might we prevent the dip in
achievement at Y8 & Y9?
More students start Y7 with an Incremental
High Schools continue to promote the
Incremental Mindset in the classroom and
in their ethos
Teachers have a common perception of
progress across KS2 & KS3
Higher level of challenge in Y7
Promoting an Incremental
Mindset - parents
Discuss with parents why it is important to
promote an Incremental Mindset
Persuade parents that intelligence is not
Encourage parents to praise effort,
collaboration and resilience – not
Involving Parents (Y5/6):
Shiremoor PS
Feedback from parents:
 “I think the praising is something I was doing
wrong and can now do correctly”
 “I found the whole subject interesting and
appreciate the opportunity to help my daughter
more positively”
 “I learnt many things about positive mindset. I
hope this will help me to put my children on the
right track”
 “I learned a lot about incremental learners and
Involving Parents: Shiremoor PS
“The session was very interesting. It was
enlightening to find how my own mindset
has changed since I was in school”
“Maybe this could be offered to Y3/4
parents as it is valuable to know, and the
earlier you can learn how to correctly
praise and motivate your child in all
aspects of life the better”
Y3 students from New York PS
Discuss what being an Incremental
Learner means to them
Self-esteem vs Self-efficacy
“Fixed Mindset self-esteem is about feeling good
about yourself, often in relation to the perceived
lower achievement of others”
“Growth Mindset self-esteem is about having the
courage and determination to address weaknesses”
“Confidence and self-efficacy comes from the
mastery of problems through resilience, not from
false self-esteem” – Carol Dweck 2008
“I don’t divide the world into successes & failures,
I divide the world into learners & non-learners” –
Benjamin Barber – Political Scientist
Ten Practical Tips
& Evaluations
How do we move entity learners towards
becoming incremental learners?
1. Discuss what it means to be an incremental learner and why
this is important (use mindmap slides)
2. Create a collaborative (not competitive) classroom climate,
where pupils take responsibility for their own learning
3. Concentrate students on improving their own performance (in
small achievable steps)
4. Remind students that if the work is not hard they are not
learning (helps them to accept high challenge: ask them to tell
you if work is too easy)
5. Give students strategies for self-help, rather than relying on the
teacher when they get stuck (improves resilience)
How do we move entity learners towards
becoming incremental learners?
6. Keep stressing that intelligence is not fixed, but
is improved by effort & hard work
7. Focus children on learning, rather than
performance goals (levels & grades)
8. When children are focused on measuring
themselves from their performance, failure is
more likely to provoke a helpless response
9. When children are focused on learning, failure is
likely to provoke continued effort
10. Recruit parents as collaborators in promoting a
growth mindset
Gerry Miller