An exploration of the application and implementation of growth mindset principles within a primary school

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Abstract

Background:

A growth mindset is a significant factor in the motivation and achievement of learners. Previous research has shown one-off interventions do encourage growth mindset thinking but only improvements are only short-lived. A sustainable and embedded approach may therefore be the only way to engender long-term changes to an individual's mindset.

Aims:

This research explores the application and implementation of growth mindset approaches to teaching and learning within a primary school, aiming to identify the strengths of the application and implementation of the growth mindset principles as well as areas for improvement.

Sample:

Participants were the head teacher, five teachers, and 28 pupils at a primary school in Scotland.

Method:

Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with members of staff, focus groups were undertaken with the pupils, and six observations were undertaken across three different classes. The data were thematically analysed using an inductive approach.

Results:

The analysis of the data produced four overarching themes important to the implementation and application of growth mindset teaching and learning: embarking on the process; classroom culture and teaching; outside the classroom; and pupil approach to learning.

Conclusions:

Among the strengths of the implementation was the collaborative approach that had been taken in the school and the understanding that staff had of the evidence base of growth mindset teaching and learning. Areas for development included the planning of the implementation such as the lack of a readiness assessment being undertaken.

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