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Teachers’ Growth Mindset Increases with Reflection on Their Mission: Study


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By thinking every now and then about what they want to achieve in their jobs, teachers can boost their students’ motivation. as well as their own.

The less teachers believe it is necessary for students to have an innate talent in order to perform well, the more motivation and success will be in the classroom.

An international research team led by Professor Anke Heider of the Department of Psychology at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, identified a simple, compact, and effective way to reinforce this belief: They invited student teachers to think and write down the message they associate succinctly. the teaching profession and how they personally wish to make a positive impact on the lives of the students they teach.

After a week, the participants remained strongly convinced that all children are capable of learning and succeeding in school, regardless of their individual abilities. The researchers published their report in the journal Learning and education.

All children can thrive

Whether students enjoy school and do well in the classroom depends largely on the teachers, whose core beliefs can be communicated to the learners. “The important factor is whether the teacher is convinced that all children can thrive and learn,” explains Anke Heyder. This belief is referred to in psychology as a growth mindset.

“The belief that established talent or aptitude is essential to learning success, and that students will fail otherwise, is most likely a handicap.” The so-called fixed mindset tends to reduce motivation, especially among underperforming students.

Although these relationships have been identified in several studies, a blended intervention designed to promote a growth mindset among educators has not been presented to date. “Our intervention is new, and it is short and precise at the same time,” notes Anki Heider. “At its core is a brief reflection of your personal mission: Why am I a teacher? How do I want to make a difference for my students through what I do?”

Survey on Teacher Beliefs

To test the intervention, the researchers recruited a total of 576 student teachers for their study. The participants were divided into groups. In the intervention group, they were asked to briefly think about and write down their task, before completing a survey about their beliefs. In the control groups, they did not think about their task but about a different question, and then answered the questionnaire.

“We showed that the beliefs of those task-focused participants leaned significantly more toward a growth mindset than that of the control group,” explains Anke Heyder. This result was unrelated to the topic the students were pursuing. A survey a week later yielded the same result.

“This suggests that the effect persists — at least for a while,” says Heider. Follow-up research will be necessary to determine if the effect is permanent. “I can only advise teachers, but also university lecturers and business leaders, to think about their own mission now and then,” the researcher concludes. “Not only does this benefit the people for whom you are responsible, but there is also evidence that it enhances your motivation and job satisfaction.”

more information:
Anke Heyder et al, Reflecting on Their Mission Increases Pre-Service Teachers’ Growth Mindsets, Learning and education (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2023.101770

Provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum

the quote: Study: Reflecting on Their Mission Increases Teachers’ Growth Mindset (2023, May 17) Retrieved May 17, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-mission-teachers-growth-mindset.html

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