Growth mindset promotion through value alignment: better performance, less inequality

Growth mindset promotion through value alignment can lead to better school performance and less inequality. Education is constantly looking for ways to improve the school performance of students. Another important goal is to reduce inequality in education. The challenge is to discover how we can achieve this in the most effective way. Recent research by three American researchers offers a possible solution. They developed an intervention aimed at promoting a growth mindset in students.

An Intervention with a New Focus

Cameron Hecht, Christopher Bryan, and David Yeager of the University of Texas conducted the research. They developed an intervention that encourages teachers to apply teaching methods that promote a growth mindset in students. A growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your skills through effort and practice. The intervention, a 45-minute online module, was designed to encourage adoption of educational practices that support the growth mindset.

The Growth Mindset Supportive Education Intervention

The intervention contained six essential components:

  1. Introduction to the Growth Mindset: The course began by explaining the fundamental concept of the growth mindset, including the definition of the term, its importance for learning and personal development, and how it differs from a fixed mindset.
  2. Alignment of Values: A crucial element was aligning the growth mindset with the teachers' existing values. The relevance of the growth mindset to students achieving their current goals was highlighted. As a result, teachers became more willing to integrate this mindset into their teaching practice.
  3. Awareness of Respect: Teachers were encouraged to show respect for their students, especially by acknowledging their potential for growth and learning. This element emphasized the importance of respect in fostering a growth mindset in students.
  4. Classroom Implementation: Teachers received practical suggestions and strategies to promote growth mindset in their classroom. This included brainstorming sessions, sharing success stories and exchanging ideas with colleagues.
  5. Action plan: Teachers were encouraged to make detailed plans in each part of the course on how to implement the insights and strategies learned in their lessons.
  6. Support and Follow-up: After the course, teachers were encouraged to share their experiences and progress and were given support in dealing with any challenges.

The research

The experiment took place during the 2020-21 school year, when the COVID-19 pandemic had shifted education primarily to a virtual setting. A total of 319 teachers were involved in the experiment. A group of 155 teachers (with 5,393 students) was randomly selected to undergo the intervention, while a control group of 164 teachers (with 6,167 students) received a module on improving the accessibility of virtual education.

Results of the Study

After the intervention, the researchers asked the teachers to participate in a follow-up study within three weeks. This research showed that the teachers who underwent the intervention intended to implement the practices that support the growth mindset. At the end of the school year, the researchers collected data on the students' graduation rates and grades. The data showed that the students in the intervention group performed better than the students in the control group, especially in socioeconomically disadvantaged classes.

General Conclusions

Overall, the intervention proved successful. It helped improve the school performance of the students and reduced the inequality in education. In addition, it positively changed the way educators teach and overcame many of the previously challenging barriers to change.

Reflection and Implications

In summary, the results of this study show that encouraging a growth mindset in students by teachers can have a positive impact on students' school performance. This offers a promising strategy that has the potential to help reduce educational inequality. If we want to see changes in teaching methods, it is important that we continue to invest in such interventions.