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Center for Teaching & Learning: Perspectives on Teaching & Learning

Supporting the MCPHS faculty and staff in their commitment to excellence and innovation in teaching and learning

Supporting Students' Growth Mindset with Technology

by Reena Lederman Gerard on 2019-11-04T18:34:00-05:00 in Educational Technology | Comments

Mid-semester has passed, which means some of your students have received official mid-semester warnings. They may have missed deadlines, scored low on tests, or not contributed on projects. You may have contacted these students with reminders, suggestions, or offers of extra help, yet they are still struggling. We want our students to succeed, but we don’t always  know what we can do to help them (there are some situations that are outside our realm).  

What can you do? Consider Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset” theory as a starting point. She identifies a students’ mindsets as their belief in their own abilities – how they perceive their intellectual capabilities. Some students believe that their intellect is fixed, and others believe that they can increase their capabilities. This is the difference between “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” (Dweck, 2015).  In her article, Growth Mindset, Revisited (2015), Dweck identifies a common misunderstanding, which is that effort isn’t sufficient. There is more to a growth mindset than plowing ahead like the Little Engine That Could. Students must understand what they are missing – this seems obvious, and “together, doing something about it, helping him or her become smarter” (Dweck, 2015, para.11).  

A quick start to helping and supporting your students’ growth mindset is under your fingertips. If you use Blackboard, you have a handy tool at your disposal - the Retention Center. Despite the “stern” name, its purpose is to facilitate outreach from the instructor to the student for positive outcomes. Customizing the various messages is the key to effective usage of the Retention Center. You can promote a growth mindset through targeted emails that encourage students to seek out and try new study strategies or to reflect on their preparation for a class, test, or project. You can provide specific feedback that, for example, identifies an action a student might take to develop a new skill or to extend their exploration into a topic (Ahmed & Rosen, 2019). 

Learn more:

 

Ahmed, S. & Rosen, L. (2019). A growth mindset: Essential for student and faculty success. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/a-growth-mindset-essential-for-student-and-faculty-success/ 

Dweck, C. (2015). Growth mindset: Revisited. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/09/23/carol-dweck-revisits-the-growth-mindset.html 


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