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What are your views about growth mindset?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    One geneticist is not convinced about the theory:

    ‘A leading geneticist has challenged the hugely popular growth mindset theory, saying the whole idea is “********”.

    The growth mindset theory, developed by Stanford psychologist Professor Carol Dweck, argues an individual’s learning is shaped by whether they think intelligence is fixed or can be changed.

    Those with a growth mindset believe they can improve their abilities through effort and effective learning techniques. Those with a fixed mindset believe their abilities are largely innate and so are less likely to work to improve their academic performance.’

    What do you think?

  2. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    :D:D TES Headline text not allowed on the TES forum. I guess censor stars are probably why the link doesn’t work.
  3. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    “Robert Plomin, professor of behavioural genetics at King’s College London, dismissed the theory as “bullsh.t” and “gimmicks””

    I have never met anyone who believes otherwise!
  4. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I met a whole SMT team who believed it wholeheartedly, or at least pretended to.

    The Prof cited in the OP clearly has a fixed mindset.
    lardylegs, phlogiston and colpee like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Like many things in education, GM has great value in making you think about what you praise and how you encourage. It is not the panacea for all educational ills and cannot on its own transform a neglected or brain damaged kid into a grade 9 student/
  6. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter


    An old article but I feel a relevant one. I don't think there's a strong scientific basis to Dweck's work. I think this part makes a very valid point.

    In particular, her findings have yet to be replicated.

    Dweck told BuzzFeed News that attempts to replicate can fail because the scientists haven’t created the right conditions. “Not anyone can do a replication,” she said. “We put so much thought into creating an environment; we spend hours and days on each question, on creating a context in which the phenomenon could plausibly emerge.

    “Replication is very important, but they have to be genuine replications and thoughtful replications done by skilled people. Very few studies will replicate done by an amateur in a *****-nilly way.”

    Nick Brown, a PhD student in psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, is sceptical of this: “The question I have is: If your effect is so fragile that it can only be reproduced [under strictly controlled conditions], then why do you think it can be reproduced by schoolteachers?”
    rowenamdialino, bevdex, Pomza and 9 others like this.
  7. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    I think teaching children that if they work hard, try, learn from mistakes then they will get better is brilliant. I think the error is made when growth mindset is used to show that you can be amazing at anything you want to be. Too often I’ve seen people such as Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt used as the examples of people with a growth mindset. Now I don’t doubt they have a fantastic attitude and work incredibly hard but it doesn’t matter how hard I try at running I’m never going to be as fast as usain bolt!
  8. From what I’ve read of her work Carol Dweck doesn’t
    claim this is possible either
    minnie me and SomethingWicked like this.
  9. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    yet another in a long line of big ideas that are adopted for a year or so then ditched as a manager goes on yet another course and comes back to school with a new magic wand, all of which cost no money but loads of everyone else's time.
  10. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

  11. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    Is there a book?
    Is there expensive CPD?
    Is there any actual evidence which is peer reviewed?
    Yes, yes and no?

  12. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Gimmicks and fads with two word catchy titles.

    Learning styles.
    Learning pyramids.
    Growth mindset.
    Knowledge rich.
    Shanghai Maths

    The only things these fads do is make businesspeople rich. Once you start digging into the reality you begin to see it’s all nonsense.
    Shedman, bevdex, MarieAnn18 and 7 others like this.
  13. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I agree it can be a helpful tool to encourage children encourage children to extend themselves.

    Over used, it can become a stick to beat them up with. Every failure is your fault because you didn't show enough grow mindset.
    Shedman, minnie me, lardylegs and 4 others like this.
  14. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I think I find the irony somewhat odd in our approach.

    To the kids: "If you have a growth mindset, you can achieve anything you want."

    Also to the kids: "No, you need to do the mild work because the rest will be too hard and mild work is what you do. Yes, that's the table you sit at... With the other children who do the mild work. No, you can't go and sit at the chilli table."

    In pupil progress meetings: "I can't see that kid making it so I think you should focus your attention on those that will."

  15. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    No - she has, to be fair, spoken out about the way the idea has been misused or misinterpreted by the kind of fkwit managers we've all encountered.

    Thing about the mindset idea is, the good parts of it, the parts that work, are things that good teachers knew anyway. Those that kept bleating on about it just demonstrated that their heart or instinct in teaching was nil, that everything had to come from books, gimmicks and directives from above.
    PGCE_tutor, minnie me, Pomza and 2 others like this.
  16. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Like a lot of educational research, there is a lot of attempts at replication without understanding what the research says. Mostly looking for a quick fix.

    As @sparkleghirl says, it's mostly what good teachers know already. Learning things takes time and effort. People aren't the same and require different amounts for different things, and not everyone learns best using the same approach. That children's learning is going be limited if there isn't an expectation to be able to do it, either by the child or the person teaching then; or if there isn't an understanding of needing to use different approaches to learning depending on the person's prior knowledge and skills.

    I think it's interesting that there is research being done in growth mindset in universities' teaching: http://mindsets.port.ac.uk/?p=1929
    As, in my experience, universities are usually slow to apply educational theories in their own teaching.
    agathamorse and sparkleghirl like this.
  17. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    Our new Head teacher made this her Big Idea. It is a wonderful, optimistic concept on the face of it. However, it soon became a n underlying rationale for increased interventions, inflated target grades and unrealistic subject choices at KS4.
  18. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    And it's about praising their genuine effort. Any decent person, whether wth a teaching vocation or not, knows that children (nay - all of us!) deserve praise and encouragement for effort. Yet to the growth mindset sellers, this was a revelation, a novelty, something that hadn't occurred to them before.

    The cold, inhuman, robotic careerist kind of teacher.
    Grandsire, MarieAnn18, Pomza and 2 others like this.
  19. Teslasmate

    Teslasmate Occasional commenter

    'Growth Mindset' is of course bovine digestive throughput of the worst kind. It always amused me that anyone that in any way criticized it, or did not accept the ideology or just ignored it was automatically placed in the 'bad' category of having a fixed mindset. You are with us or one of the baddies you see. It's very like a cult in that way. As Ben Goldacre is wont to say 'I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that'.
  20. install

    install Star commenter

    Growth mindset = all the school being involved and therein lies the barrier, the 'fix' and the block.

    How many schools out there have staff meetings, lessons, parent meetings, report days, lunch clubs, morning clubs, after school clubs, holiday clubs and revision inspire sessions where some Senior leaders cannot be seen? Why - because some are in 'fixed' in offices, 'fixed' in othe' more important meetings or possibly just not in and 'fixed' in ducking and diving.

    So, growth mindset sadly becomes another tick box exercise in some schools whereby the 'Senior leaders' want to delegate it - but be far away from it. And for 'Growth' to happen Senior Leaders in some schools need to show that they are willing to join in that too:):):)
    Alice K and agathamorse like this.

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