Why a Growth Mindset Is Important?

A meta-analysis on growth mindset interventions has shown that these have very small effects, if there are any, on student performance and learning. The analysis includes 162 independent samples, with 273 effect sizes and a total sample size of 365,915 students. Paul Thomas, a professor of education at Furman University, therefore concludes that we must abandon the "Growth Mindset". Paul is indeed correct in stating that character education of our children towards a greater acceptance of the "Growth Mindset" probably will not solve the problems our educational systems face. Making students embrace failures as opportunities to grow instead of being limits of their abilities" is not likely to increase learning outcomes. Education, after all, is much more complex than an act of will. The achievement gap between rich and poor children is not due to a difference in mindset. We know the real reasons and it is not character. It is a matter of privilege. Nonetheless, a growth mindset is very important, and I am not talking about the children. Parents, teachers, school leaders, and education policy makers need a growth mindset for it is only through this lens can we achieve equity in education.

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More on Rejecting Growth Mindset, Grit by Paul Thomas

The achievement gap between black and white students, between rich and poor children, is not due to a lack of perseverance. It is due to an inequitable system, a structure that is inherently biased against children who lack privilege. These gaps are enhanced and not reduced by our current educational systems precisely because these inequitable structures are supported by a "fixed mindset". Take the advanced academic or gifted programs, for example.

In a research done to uncover the relationship between our mindset and how we view public education, Dweck and coworkers found that those who had a growth mindset "(a) were more likely to support the institution of free public education, (b) were more concerned upon learning that students in the country were not performing well academically compared with students in peer nations, and (c) were more likely to support redistributing educational funds more equitably across wealthier and poorer school districts." "Growth mindsets and fixed mindsets" are beliefs. And like other beliefs, these can shape our identity and behavior. We can either support quality education for all or put up advanced academic classrooms and condemn everyone else to poor education. It depends on what we believe in. A "growth mindset" is necessary for us to identify inequitable practices in public school education. A "fixed mindset", on the other hand, only demotes schools to mere rubber stamps for children of privilege.


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