According to John Hattie, Feedback is one of the most important ways of improving students’ academic performance. How do we give honest feedback in a way that promotes growth?
We all have high expectations for our students, but how do we convey that? Do we elicit fear or respect?
Gregory Walton talks about “belonging uncertainty” which is “a persistent doubt students can feel about whether ‘people like me’ can belong in a school setting”. This can be a major block to developing or maintaining a Growth Mindset.
One way to work with this underlying anxiety is, according to Katie Finley, to “design classroom activities that involve cooperative - rather than competitive or individualistic - work. Research suggests that students are more motivated and successful when working in groups. Students feel a sense of responsibility to the group to try their best, and thus will experience the positive feedback loop of effort and success, encouraging the development of a growth mindset.”
- Walton, Gregory. “NCEE Blog.” IES, 3 Jan. 2022, http://ies.ed.gov/blogs/ncee/post/is-believing-in-yourself-enough-growth-mindset-and-social-belonging-interventions-for-postsecondary-students
- Finley, Katie. “4 Ways to Encourage a Growth Mindset in the Classroom - EdSurge News.” EdSurge, EdSurge, 27 Dec. 2018, www.edsurge.com/news/2014-10-24-4-ways-to-encourage-a-growth-mindset-in-the-classroom
Video - Designing Supportive Learning Environments (2½ mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRrnFLrwNYU&t=36s
For cooperative learning to work, it is important that the members of the group can contribute different information and/or skills. One way of doing this is via a jigsaw.
Do past traumatic experiences build resilience and Growth Mindset?
Research by Fernandez et al. suggests that this is not the case. The experience of prior traumatic events makes one more vulnerable to PTSD and/or depression when faced with a new trauma. But learning to develop a Growth Mindset can help to overcome traumatic events.
Instilling a Growth Mindset requires us as teachers to promote an attitude of openness to growth and change in our students. This links with Collective Teacher Efficacy (the belief we share that our students can all do better). So our report comments should avoid being judgements such as “acceptable”, “satisfactory” etc as these suggest that there is no room for growth. Even a positive comment such as “excellent” or “very pleasing” is not that helpful if we are not celebrating why/how that excellence came about. Growth Mindset is all about developing strategies to deal with challenges.