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Recently there have been some exciting discussions throughout education on the impact of trauma on students. While there is a wealth of research documenting the impact of trauma on a child’s health and ability to learn, there is often a lack of clarity about instructional strategies for teachers. Fortunately, mindset intervention research has consistently targeted those students most in need, with exciting success.
In November we wrote a post about the impact the mindset of a teacher can have about a student’s problem behavior. Related to this, Stanford researchers Jason Okonofua, David Paunesku and Gregory Walton recently published research demonstrating the power of teacher mindsets on student behavior.
As highlighted by this artwork by W.E. Hill, perception powerfully influences what we see. Looking at this picture some will see a young woman staring off in the distance, others an elderly woman sadly looking downward. Similarly, as educators, parents, or professionals, our perceptions can cause us to look at the same child and reach different conclusions depending on the mindset from which we are operating. Mindset research aims to help people shift their perceptions about the causes of success or failure.
Many teachers are embracing growth mindset and in so doing have shifted the way they teach and invite students to learn. Educators, who have adopted a growth mindset approach, explicitly teach their students that intelligence grows by exerting effort, that this growth occurs most when facing challenges, and that likely – in fact, undoubtedly – students will make mistakes as they learn. So when students make mistakes while facing a learning challenge, the teacher guides them to use their effort and fix their mistakes.