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Growth Mindset: Pile of pants
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noblegiraffe · 12/07/2019 08:43

Another study showing no effect of growth mindset interventions on test scores, in primary school children.
www.tes.com/news/exclusive-growth-mindset-lessons-had-no-impact

Why are schools so susceptible to fads?

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theunrivalledjoysofparenting · 12/07/2019 08:47

I'm not sure it is a fad. It may be more useful or more easily implemented for older children/adults, but on the whole I think it's a sensible concept and a good way to live. Good for developing resilience too.

The progress dc make in English and maths depends on how well they are taught, among other things, not just whether or not they have a GM.

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legocat · 12/07/2019 08:51

These fads are always cheap - growth mindset and brain gym for example cost very little in training and delivery.

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noblegiraffe · 12/07/2019 08:52

It’s a fad. The original studies have never been replicated. In addition, it is damaging to weaker students to be told that they could be just as good as top-setters if only they tried harder.

Resilience is a woolly concept that seems to be thrown around schools these days too.

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legocat · 12/07/2019 08:56

'Good for developing resilience too. '

The increasing numbers of young people with mental health difficulties would belie that claim.

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theunrivalledjoysofparenting · 12/07/2019 09:14

The increasing numbers of young people with mental health difficulties would belie that claim

But (a) how long has the concept of a GM been around? And (b) how many kids with MH issues have heard of GM, or practise it??

I'm not sure resilience is a 'woolly' concept. Seems to me it's simple and straightforward.

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noblegiraffe · 12/07/2019 09:26

Good blog on the woolliness of ‘resilience’ and the problems this brings with resilience interventions here:

theemotionallearner.com/2018/09/06/resilience-a-love-hate-relationship/

This bit encapsulates why I dislike the word being bandied about as it is currently.

“Over the years I’ve come to dislike the term resilience and the way in which it has been very loosely defined. While early resilience research seemed to be more concerned with how young people cope, adapt and thrive within hostile environments, the contemporary view (especially in education) appears to see resilience as something that children and young people lack. This deficiency model of resilience implies that all that is needed to cure society’s ills is to make people more resilient, a proposal similar to that held by the self-esteem movement in the 1980s, where raising levels of self-esteem was seen as an antidote to everything from academic failure to drug addiction and gang violence.“

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Sproglets · 12/07/2019 09:29

I always think of growth mindset as more of a meta cognition approach, most useful to help people not shut down their own achievement before they’ve even started - the classic ‘I can’t do it’ becomes ‘I can’t do it yet’.
It gets a bit harder after that.

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Sittinonthefloor · 12/07/2019 09:31

OMG I detest ‘growth mindset’ the sensible bits - eg learning from mistakes, are just obvious & what any teacher should do anyway, but I hate this idea of telling children that they can do anything if they try hard enough - they can’t!! It’s a lie!!!

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legocat · 12/07/2019 10:01

youngminds advice is that children need specific support in addition to the modelling of positive relationships within the whole school community to develop academic resilience - particularly vulnerable children.
The onus is on the adults within that community to support children to develop resilience - not for the child to be expected to own the responsibility of developing their mindset by using a particular style of language.
It made me chuckle that an observation from an older teacher was that the Young Minds approach is what school staff used to do!

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herculepoirot2 · 12/07/2019 20:07

I always had a problem with “growth mindset”, and couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Then I realised that it was because, if it worked, it worked as a sort of confidence trick: tell children they can improve their performance exponentially, if only they adopt this “growth mindset”, and they do, and maybe (taking note of the point above) their performance does improve, a bit. But what are we leaving them with? A false impression. That’s damaging, and it’s wrong. I would far, far rather promote effort, being the best you can be because you deserve to be the best you can be.

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PinkIndustry · 13/07/2019 00:12

Oh I can't bear it! It's linked to the X factor "just believe in yourself and you, too, can be a star," nonsense. No you can't, not if you are tone deaf and ugly - you are not going to be a star and that's the end of it. If you're not very bright, you're not going to Cambridge. If you're super clever but have short little legs and are a bit plump, you're not going to win on sports day - best get used to it.

What I hate about the term, 'resilience'. though, is that it implies horror. Why should we all be resilient and battle through the things that are draining us and making us miserable? So we can feel that marvelous "did it - yay - pulled it off" emotion? It's not worth it. If something requires resilience then it's probably horrible. Don't do it. Life is short. Go and do something that you find interesting and achievable and enjoyable instead.

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Partridgeamongstthepigeons · 13/07/2019 04:54

Give them all music lessons, that'll do the trick.

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bettyrollinscampbandage · 13/07/2019 05:55

Growth Mindset has been introduced to schools across the UK in varying forms. In my school we were given an interesting talk and a poster to put up (Secondary). I’ve heard that in primary they have designed intervention sessions designed around GM.

Like with any educational trend, it depends on how well the teacher and school understand the idea, how it is implemented and integrated, and ultimately how well ideas are communicated to the kids. I think it’s wrong to think that adopting a certain approach will improve results and lives without considering the individuals involved. Does the teacher (or whoever is delivering) really understand the theory? Are they able to apply that to the child’s situation? Is the teacher able to pitch the intervention and communicate clearly how this approach will benefit the child? Finally does the teacher know the limits of the approach?

I agree that the X-factor style ‘dream and try and the world can be yours’ is horribly misleading, I’ve tried for years to play the drums well, but I have to know my limitations with co-ordination. However, I’ve also seen people of all ages spout ‘Oh, I’m not good at Maths / French / Sport / Whatever’ and shut down any thought of trying to improve. The brain is plastic, it’s mouldable and changes all the time depending on how it is used. To some extent if you practise something, you get good at it. The question is, how much do you want / need it?

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balonzz · 13/07/2019 06:03

Like all the other 'new ideas' in education over the last 30 years and probably for much longer, growth mindset contains a mix of the staggeringly obvious mixed up with some old ideas dressed up in a new vocabulary.

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noblegiraffe · 13/07/2019 07:43

If you practise something you get good at it isn’t right. If you practise something in a constructive way (e.g. with feedback on how to improve) you will get better at it, but not necessarily good.

Jo Boaler (US maths professor and unfortunately quite influential in maths education) insists that due to brain plasticity and growth mindset and so on ‘anyone can learn maths to the highest level’.
Because she makes it sound all sciencey with pictures of neurons, people lap it up.

But it’s blatantly obviously not true. And if someone said ‘anyone can play basketball to the highest level’ people would be quick to point out that a short person is unlikely to be the next Michael Jordan however much practice they do.

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Myshoesarenew · 13/07/2019 08:07

It’s a really flawed study though - just comparing two groups, depending on whether or not the teacher had been on a course. It didn’t really account for how well teachers were implementing the material or control for other teachers unwittingly having a style that is naturally aligned.

I’m not an educator (not at school level anyway) but I am interested as a parent and a professional in the concept of grit. I don’t subscribe to the idea that anyone can do anything if they work hard enough, but I’m interested in why some of our team are better at getting things done and solving complex problems and how this doesn’t necessarily correlate with their exam performance on paper. I do think children need to be encouraged to fail and understand failure, and to work at things that maybe don’t come naturally. But we can’t escape natural aptitude either

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noblegiraffe · 13/07/2019 08:13

It’s a really flawed study though

When every study since the original Dweck ones have failed to find any impact of growth mindset interventions, one starts to wonder which of the studies are really the flawed ones.

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Myshoesarenew · 13/07/2019 08:15

Ah ok this isn’t my area so I’m not aware of the literature. Perhaps it’s just one of those things that is almost impossible to scale up, teach effectively, and measure

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noblegiraffe · 13/07/2019 08:44

We need to be wary of the ‘it’s not working because you’re just not doing it right’ defence.

It leads to teachers banging their heads against the brick wall of crap ideas that are actually less effective than other teaching methods. Group work. Discovery learning. The idea that once a pupil has something right they need to move onto something else or they’re not being challenged.

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lorisparkle · 13/07/2019 08:54

I have always hated the growth mindset nonsense.

Ds2 has confidence issues and if he feels he can't do it will avoid doing it. He is 'told' to be more resilient which makes him feel worse. It is like expecting a shy child to be more outgoing just because you tell them to be or expecting a depressed person to be happy because you tell them to be. He also feels that there is little point in trying because no matter how hard you try all the growth mindset rhetoric is that you can always do better.

Ds3 on the other hand is a perfectionist. Growth mindset is just as bad for him as again the growth mindset pushes this idea of 'never good enough'.

I completely agree with the principle of not giving up before you have even tried but the concept of anyone can be a genius and children with learning difficulties just need to try harder is flawed and damaging to mental health,

Unfortunately my ds's school has fallen completely into the myth.

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TheFallenMadonna · 13/07/2019 08:59

A strategy that fails to have an effect every time it is rolled out on a larger scale is not a useful strategy.

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Myshoesarenew · 13/07/2019 09:06

@noblegiraffe that’s not what I mean at all. Just that some ideas might work well on paper, or even in a small group but just don’t scale. Not a case of ‘not doing it right’ more a case of ‘nice idea doesn’t work in the real world’

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MyOtherProfile · 13/07/2019 09:27

The article is a bit misleading because I don't think most schools that do GM have opted for it in order to improve English and maths results.

"What this tells us is that schools should be wary of using growth mindsets as a standalone way of boosting attainment"

I'm just not sure that's why schools use it.

Whether or not it effectively helps MH or resilience is a whole other issue. All I know is that for a couple of years it was massive at my DC primary and almost all the kids I knew ended up hating it because they knew there were certain things they would never manage to do with the best will in the world.

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Rainuntilseptember15 · 13/07/2019 12:57

I've taken about three useful phrases/ideas away from all our growth mindset training, which doesn't sound like much but to be fair is more than I've taken away from most new initiatives we've had rolled out in the past ten years.

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Namenic · 13/07/2019 13:36

Not a teacher - but growth mindset on wiki doesn’t sound that bad. I guess it might make a difference how it is applied? Most people can improve if they put the effort in. Some will improve a little with a small amount of effort, some a lot.

I would have thought things like this would be more appropriate for parents rather than teachers as as they are around the kids for longer?

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