Mobilizing Mindsets: The Effects of Growth Mindset Messaging on Elementary Students' Emotions

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  • Evidence generally supports a positive association between growth mindset and academic outcomes, even if the experimental evidence for growth mindset interventions precisely is somewhat more tenuous. This is promising as the concept of growth mindsets have grown in popularity with a proliferation of materials readily available to teachers and school administrators. The purpose of this multi-method study was to explore elementary students’ understanding of growth mindset messaging created by their teachers and its association with students’ emotions. First, 10 semi-structured focus groups consisting of elementary students from grades 1 through 5 were conducted. Following the focus groups, students in grades 4 and 5 completed surveys, containing both quantitative and qualitative items, in their classes about their mindsets. The results showed that students as young as grade 1 were positively impacted by the growth mindset messaging, both in school and when facing challenges outside of school. A paired-samples t-tests revealed students' emotions were also largely adaptive, with the exception of frustration, which participants associated equally with a growth and a fixed mindset, t(36) = -2.56, p = .015. Results are discussed in relation to mindset theory broadly as well as in regards to teacher or school initiated mindset messages.

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    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International