FocusThe relationship between one’s sense of agency and one’s learning engagements
Principal MetaphorsMindset offers a contrast between those who see their learning-related traits as fixed/pre-given and those who see them in terms of growth and expansive possibility. Each is associated with distinct clusters of metaphors:
|Fixed Mindset||Growth Mindset|
SynopsisMindset is focused on the relationship between learners’ conceptions of themselves and their attitudes toward learning. It distinguishes between two types of mindset, fixed and growth. Learners with a fixed mindset typically see ability as fixed and learning in terms of a performance that reflects that ability. Learners with a growth mindset typically see ability in more expansive terms, defined at least in part by the effort put forth.
CommentaryIt is not clear whether Mindset offers distinct categories or poles on a continuum. Commentators who interpret the theory in terms of distinct categories typically accuse it of being reductive – and yet another way of assessing and categorizing children. More troubling, the discourse appears to have been used to displace blame for poor teaching onto learners (who, according to the discourse, are occupying the wrong mindset or not trying hard enough).
Authors and/or Prominent InfluencesCarol Dweck
Status as a Theory of LearningMindset is more of a description of a psychological phenomenon than a theory of learning.
Status as a Theory of TeachingMindset is perhaps more appropriately construed as a theory of teaching than a theory of learning or learners. It offers extensive commentary and advice on the connection between teachers’ emphases and learners’ mindsets.
Status as a Scientific TheoryAlthough tremendously popular within education, Mindset does not have the empirical base that is commonly assumed. Significantly, Dweck’s original research on Mindset has not been replicated.
Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2020). “Mindset” in Discourses on Learning in Education. https://learningdiscourses.com.
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