Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mindsets impact mathematics achievement

Study done by the educator Carol Dweck and her colleagues shows that everyone has a learning mindset, a core belief about how they learn. People can have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. In the Psychology of Learning a growth mindset is the attitude of people who believe that their intelligence can increase with hard work. The learning ability of people with a growth mindset tends therefore to increase. People with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence is fixed and cannot go beyond their fixed levels. They think that their learning ability is limited. Because of this mindset they think that they can't learn a subject fully and realize great performances at it. These two types of mindsets lead to different kinds of learning behaviors and consequently to different learning outcomes. Learners with a fixed mindset give up easily while those with a growth mindset persist even though their work is hard.

Mindsets impact math achievement. A survey was given to students in a 7th grade class to measure their mindset. The researchers monitored their math achievement over a two years period. The study yields to important results according to the type of students' mindsets. The math achievement of students with a growth mindset tends to progress increasingly while the math achievement of students with a fixed mindset stays constant.

A study about the relationships between beliefs and brain activity shows that the brain  of people  with a growth mindset  reacts differently than that of people with a fixed mindset when they make a mistake. Those with a growth mindset are more aware of their mistakes and willing to fix them. This attitude is different for those with a fixed mindset. Another study supports that students with a growth mindset experience  heightened brain activity and are able to pay more attention to their mistakes.

The brains of all participants to the latter study show some type of activity but  the brain of those with a growth mindset  is likely to show subsequent activities allowing them to be aware of their mistakes.

What are the implications of these studies in learning math or any other subject? These studies show that it's not natural that some individuals are more intelligent than others. Beliefs and mindsets play a great role in people's level of intelligence and their ability to learn. People with a growth mindset or who believe that they can learn if they put some effort have have higher levels of intelligence and increased learning abilities. Those who have a fixed mindset think that their intelligence and leaning abilities are limited. Because of these beliefs they aren't making any effort to learn a subject.

I presently teach and tutor face-to-face and online Math, French, ESL and Spanish. If you believe that you can't learn Math and any of the other subjects above I can work with you to help you to develop a growth mindset. I give away two freebies: a few tutoring sessions in any of the subjects mentioned above and a free Calculus course. For the free Calculus course click this link Introduction to Calculus: notions of limits. For free tutoring by email fill out this form Free Tutoring by Email
For paid tutoring and courses face-to-face and online visit New Direction Education Services at www.ndes.biz  and click on the contact information button. You can also reach me by email at pslvb34@gmail.com