Is growth mindset bollocks?

Like everyone else, when I first came across Carol Dweck’s theory of growth mindsets I was pretty psyched. There was something so satisfyingly truthy about the way the labels ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindset could explain why children failed or succeeded at school. I wanted to believe that something as simple as telling children their brains are ‘like a muscle’ and showing them a cartoon about synapses forming could make them cleverer. And if praising effort instead of praising intelligence really did make all this happen, then why the hell wouldn’t we? And best of all, the whole edifice was established on rock-solid, credible research and supported by an impeccable evidence base. What wasn’t to like?

The thing is, when something seems to good to be true it often turns out not to be true. I started thinking a bit more critically about the wild claims tossed about by some of the bolder mindset enthusiasts and it didn’t take long for doubts to emerge.

Here’s a list of the increasingly sceptical posts I’ve written over the last year or so:

20 psychological principles for teachers #1 Mindsets May 2015

In this one I challenged some of the APA’s advice to teachers about how to foster growth mindsets in students:

But what if a student is trying as hard as they are able? What if they’ve already tried a range of approaches and still failed? Is telling them their performance can be enhanced with even greater effort likely to be motivational? Having a ‘growth mindset’ does not confer magical powers. Maybe we can all be cleverer, but maybe there’s also a limit?

Why the ‘false growth mindset’ explains so much June 2015

Here I reflected on Carol Dweck’s explanation for why attempts to replicate growth mindset interventions don’t seem to work nearly as well as we might expect:

[Dweck has] identified a phenomenon she calls the ‘false growth mindset’. Because we’ve unanimously agreed that having a fixed mindset is egregious and a growth mindset makes you a better all-round human being, no one wants to fess up to being ‘fixed’. When asked, we tend to say, “Yes of course I have a growth mindset,” because the alternative is to say, “No, I’m afraid I’m a terrible person.” It seems reasonable to suggest teachers are at least as prone to this as anyone; we tend to know more about the perceived benefits of growth mindset than most other people and so there’s a huge social pressure to fall into line. But just saying you have a growth mindset does not (quelle surprise!) mean you actually have one. What you actually have is a false growth mindset.

Is growth mindset pseudoscience? October 2015

The more I thought about the ‘false growth mindset’, the more concerned I became:

The problem with a theory that explains away all the objections is that it becomes unfalsifiable. There are no conditions in which the claim could not be true. For instance, when fossil evidence disproved the widely believed ‘fact’ that the world was created in 4004 BC, Philip Henry Gosse came up with the wonderful argument that God created the fossils to make the world look older than it actually is in order to fox us and make Himself appear even more fabulous and omnipotent… If you adjust the definitions of your theory in order to fit the facts then is the theory science or pseudoscience? If no amount of data or evidence can prove Dweck’s claims false because she can just say, Well, that’s a false growth mindset, not a real one, then what’s the difference between her and Gosse?

The limits of growth mindset May 2016

But surely, I reasoned, with all that empirical support, there must be something worth salvaging. K Anders Ericsson, the expertise expert seems to provide a possible way forward:

Ericsson says that [the] ability to create rich ‘mental representations’ is one of the distinguishing features of the kind of practice which is most likely to lead to improvements: “The relationship between skill and mental representation is a virtuous circle: the more skilled you become, the better your mental representations are, and the better your mental representations are, the more effectively you can practise to hone your skill.” (p. 80)

Hard work and a growth mindset are not enough. In fact, it seems likely that practising more without getting results will probably erode beliefs about self-efficacy. No wonder children learn that they “can’t do maths” or that “French is impossible” if they’re practising in the wrong way. If we believe that the difference between successful and unsuccessful students is their mindset, we could be adding to a potentially toxic cocktail. It’s much more likely that a growth mindset follows from experiencing success. If we get good early results then our self-confidence can become invincible, but if we don’t… Well, only a fool continues to believe anything is possible in the face of increasingly contradictory evidence.

But now it seems that Dweck’s original research is under fire. Yue Li and Timothy Bates have performed faithful replications of her studies but failed to get anything like the same results. Here’s the abstract:

Mindset theory states that children’s ability and school grades depend heavily on whether they believe basic ability is malleable and that praise for intelligence dramatically lowers cognitive performance. Here we test these predictions in 3 studies totalling 624 individually tested 10-12-year-olds. Praise for intelligence failed to harm cognitive performance and children’s mindsets had no relationship to their IQ or school grades. Finally, believing ability to be malleable was not linked to improvement of grades across the year. We find no support for the idea that fixed beliefs about basic ability are harmful, or that implicit theories of intelligence play any significant role in development of cognitive ability, response to challenge, or educational attainment.

Most of the paper is taken up with detailing exactly how they attempted to replicate the studies. The claims they tested are:

  • Praising effort increases a growth mindset view of intelligence whereas praising intelligence promotes a fixed mindset view of intelligence.
  • Mindset predicts students’ grades, cognitive ability, and enhances learning over time.

What they found was that different praise conditions seemed to have no impact on performance:

And further, if mindset does predict attainment then if anything there appears to be a negative correlation between growth mindset interventions:

Figure 2: Growth-mindset intervention is unrelated to performance (left panel) while children’s own growth-mindsets harmed post-challenge performance (right panel). Data from Study 2 challenging item-set.

In summary, Li and Bates say this:

Mindset was predicted to be a major influence determining not only student learning, but also ability and response to negative feedback. Mindsets and mindset-intervention effects on both grades and ability, however, were null, or even reversed from the theorised direction. In study 2, we found one nominally significant effect of mindset on grades, but in the opposite direction to that predicted. Other effects, bar one, were non-significant. This single significant effect of the mindset intervention in study 3 on just the easier material, however, was found even more strongly for our active-control condition, contrary to prediction. This contradicts the idea that beliefs about ability being fixed are harmful. At best, it supports a role for effort predictable from trait personality and motivation theory. [emphasis added]

Sadly, no amount of belief makes something a fact. These studies offer a clear indication that, contrary to what we all hoped and believed, students’ beliefs about their ability are unrelated to their attainment.

In response, Dweck is reported as having said the following:

Not anyone can do a replication… We put so much thought into creating an environment; we spend hours and days on each question, on creating a context in which the phenomenon could plausibly emerge… Replication is very important, but they have to be genuine replications and thoughtful replications done by skilled people. Very few studies will replicate done by an amateur in a willy-nilly way.

If it’s true that replicating her studies takes “hours and days” creating the right context and cannot be done by amateurs “in a willy-nilly way”, then what chance does your average teacher have? Despite the widespread appeal of mindsets theory, this 2016 report suggests that over 80% of teachers who have implemented Dweck’s suggestions have failed to make effective changes in their classrooms. It could be that they’re just doing it wrong and have a ‘false growth mindset’, or it could be that such appealingly simplistic ideas about making profound changes to children’s academic attainment are bollocks?

You decide.

70 Responses to Is growth mindset bollocks?

  1. Mark Brown says:

    Take the old saying ‘If you think you can, if you think you can’t, you’re right’. A profound self fulfilling prophecy. So fab to find weakness in the simple growth mind-set research. But what this now calls for is redoubled and renewed energy to understand all the factors that REALLY enable all learners be the best they can be.

    So what to do? A new and fresh research drive? Shall we be really can-do and crack this fabulous nut once and for all – together? Interested?

    And David really get stuff – the opposite of bollocks!

  2. David says:

    Do you need ‘constructive feedback’ or shall I just tell you that you are a ‘very clever writer’?

  3. physiart says:

    Well, growth mindset alone can’t predict grades or academic success for students. Success is a very complicated issue that consists of interwoven factors. If we see success outside the student, we could agree that it depends on the starting point (which is exclusively determined by the student’s past), the route toward a goal and the goal. I think that growth mindset can only influence (and not of course determine) the path toward the goal.
    If we see growth mindset from this perspective, we can apply it whenever is needed. Else, if we rely our instruction exclusively on growth mindset and we don’t intervene with other practices then, we will fail as teachers.

    Thank you, David for this post 🙂

  4. Tom Burkard says:

    When I first heard of growth mindset, my initial reactionwas that it was based on the model of pupils directing their own learning–and I have no doubt that its phenomenal popularity is down to the fact that most professional educators (but not necessarily teachers) are still joined at the hip to constructivist doctrine.

    Of course, one could argue that Katherine Birbalsingh is the most successful promoter of ‘growth mindset’ in England. Ironically, Michaela is about as far from being a ‘constructivist’ school as it is possible to get.

  5. Tricia Taylor says:

    The poem in a previous comment illustrates what is misunderstood about the implementation of growth mindset—it is more than just “give it a go”. You have to give students strategies to give it a go Differently that lead to success. Dweck has made this point again and again, but unfortunately all of the hype and mindset posters that hang on walls in classrooms don’t get at the strategy and therefore can be more unhelpful.

    If a teacher simplifies growth mindset as simply a ‘can do’ spirit or just ’try harder’ attitude and then a student fails because he/she just really can’t do it, growth mindset is counterproductive. As educators we often tell young people what to do but not how to do it. It’s a bit like revision. We tell students to revise. They revise for hours, but it turns out they didn’t really learn anything because they just read over their notes—over and over again. Again, they are worse off. As pointed out in the blog and by work of cognitive scientist like Daniel Willingham, students need real strategies that relate how the brain learns.

    What I see in the work I do (in both primary and secondary) is that growth mindset doesn’t work if it is only a sound bite or 100 soundbites. WHEN it works, it is a starting point: Teach young people about the brain and to value effort. THEN teach them HOW the brain learns effectively. Mindset and then method. Small successes lead to bigger ones. Ensure that students have strategies, resources and skills to do something something differently rather than again. In defence of growth mindset, it helps students to think about their thinking and reminds them that they can get better. That first step matters. Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

    • David Didau says:

      This new evidence suggests that fist step really doesn’t matter. If it doesn’t then maybe there is no baby. Maybe it’s all dirty bathwater?

    • VDY says:

      I completely agree Tricia Taylor, particulalry regarding your revision comments. Students need guidance to build resilience and growth mindsets. I believe it takes a magic 10,000 hours to reach expert level skill, why would you expect to see a turn around in a few series of lessons? By the way the 10,000 hour idea was picked up from Matthew Syed’s literature ‘Bounce’.

      • David Didau says:

        The s0-called ‘10,000 hour rule’ was made up by Malcolm Gladwell. He misappropriated the research of K. Anders Ericsson who had pointed out that in some (but by no means all) domains, it took 10 years to ‘deliberate practice’ achieve expertise. I’ve written about deliberate practice before http://www.learningspy.co.uk/training/developing-intuition-can-trust-gut/ – the point is, expertise doesn’t ‘just happen’ through routinely getting on with a task. You have to deliberately strive to do something beyond your current capabilities. Most of settle for the ‘OK plateau’ and stop trying as soon as we become competent. This explain why there are so few real experts in the world.

        Students would do far far better to receive guidance on empirically validated study techniques such as those discussed here https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/dunlosky.pdf

        • VDY says:

          Ah perhaps that’s where I read it first David, although that would have been a long time ago so forgive my poor memory if that is the case. Thank you for the links, I will investigate your writings more as I am using the ‘purposeful practise’ strategies as a tool to invigorate scholarly behaviour in my Sixth Form. I prefer the term ‘deliberate practise’, I think it speaks more of commitment and choice.

          My flippant reply earlier (and my first on any forum) doesnt give justice to my research of what makes those 10,000 hours worthwhile, my apologies for that. I confess; I didnt expect a reply… it was a toe-in-the-water-moment. Although I am already planning a think tank debate using your sources.

          The ‘Ok Plateau’ is a cultural issue in my college, so your shared article will be very helpful, thank you.

  6. John Senior says:

    Be really interested to hear what John Tomsett has to say as mindset was a central plank in Huntington schools DP. I like the logic of ‘mindset’ but when some kids say they don’t get it and can’t do it it isn’t always because they don’t think they ever will. Equally it is palpably true that when students arrive st Secondary School some of them are doing and will do much better than others. This isn’t just a result of their ‘mindset’ – very often a reflection of their parents mindset and aspirations and experience – which research tells us is the most critical component of educational success which explains why schools in challenging circumstances ( who don’t throw out all their problematic young people) find raising attainment so difficult.

    • Hi John, I work at Huntington. I think that we of course made mistakes at Huntington School when interpreting/applying ‘growth mindset’. Interestingly, years before growth mindset was taking a bashing we were adapting our approach. I have written extensively about it in my blogs (see here: http://www.theconfidentteacher.com/2017/02/the-growth-mindset-collection/). I think we have been informed by the limitations and debated the theory in real depth. Our approach to ‘stealthy’ interventions reflects an awareness of the many limitations of ‘doing growth mindset’. I like to think the theory raises our teachers’ awareness of psychology, expectations, student groupings and more. John will surely have his own opinions, but an understand of how students learn is and always will be a central plank in our school DP, but that doesn’t mean we are fixed with some clumsy implementation of ‘growth mindset’ that may characterise much of it in schools.

      Yours,

      Alex

  7. goddinho says:

    Like falling dominoes, all the thinks that we were told were true at conferences and in CPD turn out to be bollocks, pretty much as expected.

  8. […] Like everyone else, when I first came across Carol Dweck’s theory of growth mindsets I was pretty psyched. There was something satisfyingly truthy about that labels like fixed and growth mindset could explain why children failed or succeeded at school. I wanted to believe that something as simple as telling children their brains are ‘like a muscle’  […]

  9. I think it is always about subtlety – something that the education world doesn’t seem very good at! There are great elements of truth in all these theories and ideas which can be added to your teaching toolkit to be used in the right circumstances with the right people at the right times – not used with everyone all the time. Once it becomes ‘policy’ it is doomed.

    • Michael pye says:

      Thomas that sounds reasonable at first glance but I would like you to consider how such an approach would work if applied to all ideas.

      Is there not elements of truth in learning styles?
      Does it cover bain gym? Definitely inquiry learning.

      Of course we can learn even from flawed ideas, but we learn more from less flawed ideas. I don’t want a okay idea, I don’t even want a good one, I want the best that evidence and my current understanding can give me.

      Education can be crude and it can be subtle and neither are the issue. Consider the following,

      Has an idea got a sound theoretical basis?
      Has it been suitably tested in a educational setting? (A good trial)
      Has the result been duplicated.
      Is the intervention clearly understood and described in a way that can be replicated.
      Is the opportunity cost too high. I should ignore even a positive strategy if there is a better one I can focus on.

      When thought about in this way I don’t care if an idea has some merit, accept as a piece of esotoric knowledge. I care if I can actually learn to implement it in my class, to improve teaching and maximise the chance that learning occurs.

      I think that’s the point of this article. Obviously a growth mindset can be useful to an individual. It may not be useful as a teaching strategy or even all individuals.

  10. Reading this and in fact many other papers and having a lot of conversations with students, I am always reminded of something Dylan Wiliam said: “Ultimately, when you know your students and your students trust you, you can ignore all the “rules” of feedback. Without that relationship, all the research in the world won’t matter.”

    • David Didau says:

      That may be true, but the trouble is we’re not very good at knowing when we know our students. It’s very easy to fool ourselves.

      • Agreed, but very important to work on.

        • Michael Pye says:

          Why? How can I know that I have improved my ability. Surely all I am measuring is a proxy which is how confident I am in my own opinions of my students.

          It is true that mastery of concepts/including classroom practice can allow you to know when to drop or change a rule but you don’t really work on that. It occurs naturally out of mastery. In fact it seems more healthy to constantly ask your-self if your understanding is flawed and needs updating.

  11. Wendy Jones says:

    My comment is mostly in reference to your comment stated above.. “Sadly, no amount of belief makes something a fact. These studies offer a clear indication that, contrary to what we all hoped and believed, students’ beliefs about their ability are unrelated to their attainment.”
    This maybe true, but to look at growth mind set as a way of hope is something that I hold on to and encourage for my kids- “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” You make great points of which some I agree, but in this tough world- positive encouragement and belief, leveled with realistic expectations of parents, is something that cant ever be wrong.

    • David Didau says:

      Hi Wendy, I’m afraid I see faith as a poor way to approach a problem. Faith ≠ feedback ≠ learning.

    • Michael Pye says:

      Danger zone Wendy. Its a bad physics joke that saying something can never be wrong sets you up for egg on the face. All you need is one example of when it’s not appropriate to crush that line of reasoning. I assume you really mean that positive encouragement and belief, leveled with realistic expectations of parents is usually a good idea.

      The thing is this is not Dwecks growth mindset in the same way as using a variety of activities in a classroom is not learning styles.

  12. paceni says:

    This article, http://wp.me/Patel-K5 via the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education in Northern Ireland highlights the flaw in Carol Dweck’s Minset research in a succinct fashion. Dweck’s writings ignore the extensive literature demonstrating that beliefs are neither mental states, brain states nor dispositions. All of Dweck’s writing assumes that the individual’s intelligence exists independent of others efforts to learn about it. Dweck treats “intelligence” and “ability” as things-in-themselves and therefore sees intelligence as “an investigation-independent” entity

  13. paceni says:

    This article http://wp.me/patel-K5from The Parental Alliance for Choice in Education confronts directly the problem for psychology (and for teachers concerned about the latest fads promoted by psychologists). Well worth reading and the references include some of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century

  14. goddinho says:

    The above links don’t work.

  15. Martin says:

    >If it’s true that replicating
    >her studies takes “hours and days”
    >creating the right context
    >and cannot be done by amateurs
    >“in a willy-nilly way”, then what
    >chance does your average
    >teacher have?
    This exact question appeared in Tom Chivers’ piece over at Buzzfeed a couple of weeks ago (https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomchivers/what-is-your-mindset). I have seen the reply from a colleague of Dweck’s. It is, “But we are not asking teachers to replicate the studies”. Let the implications of the reasoning that could produce that argument sink in for a moment.

  16. […] En svensk översättning av begreppen kan vara statiskt och dynamiskt tankesätt. Då hjärnan stimuleras och förändras beroende av vad vi utsätter hjärnan för är vårt förhållningssätt viktigt, särskilt för alla som jobbar i skolan. Carol Dweck, "Developing a Growth Mindset". Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve. Is growth mindset bollocks? […]

  17. Nigel May says:

    This seems like a slightly more sophisticated version of “brain gym”. I remember well having to sit through part of a CPD session on this thinking what utter BS it was. This feeling was overwhelmingly confirmed by Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science”. Wonder what Mr Goldacre would make of this?

    • Michael Pye says:

      It is not brain Gym. Dwecks theory is far more robust. We are questioning its relevance to educational practice here (and yes it has issues around reproducibility – but psychology has a generalized issue here that it is in the process of trying to address).

      Mindsets is a scientific theory in the process of being assessed as relevant or not and reproducible or not. Brain gym was never scientific in the first place.

      The similarity begins and ends with peoples inability to understand an idea before trying to use it. (People here means educators like me).

      With Brain Gym this should have led to the conclusion it was pseudo scientific nonsense.(theoretically unsound)

      With Dwecks theory it should have led to people asking if and how can it be used/not used to enhance learning.(An issue of applicability)

      Note that recent developments around the theorys reproducibility now allow us to question its validity as well. This would not have been a reasonable criticism in the past for most people as they would not have had access to the relevant counter-evidence. It is only recently Dwecks theory has come under public attack and I believe the consensus is still in her favor.

  18. Michael Pye says:

    My second sentence “We are questioning its relevance to educational practice here (and yes it has issues around reproducibility – but psychology has a generalized issue here that it is in the process of trying to address” should be ignored. We are questioning both.

  19. […] Okay so ignoring that, let’s instead go with what we know does work; mindsets, everyone knows and understands Growth Mindsets and the drive in schools to engage with this research has been more than significant. Oh, now seems as if the research behind Dweck’s work is also being questioned (See David Didau’s: Is growth mindsets bollocks?). […]

  20. paceni says:

    Apologies for the broken link to the Carol Dweck and Jo Boaler Mindset research critique.
    https://paceni.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/the-flaw-in-dweck-boalers-mindset-research/
    Michael Pye’s recognition of the problems for psychology about reproducibility are expanded upon here.

    • Michael Pye says:

      That link is interesting Paceni. Wish it was better written though as its style has a certain postmodernist twist to it that makes it hard to analysis properly.
      Going to have to spend some time re-reading it and try to figure out some of its ideas, especially the phrase “beliefs are neither mental states, brain states, nor dispositions”

      Filed under interesting but possible non sequitur.

      • paceni says:

        The article you dismiss is such a “non sequitur” that neither Psychology Professor Carol Dweck nor Professor of Mathematics Education Jo Boaler from Stanford University have demonstrated the expected academic integrity to respond to the critique. You step in to pronounce that “Dweck’s theory is far more robust” but offer no evidence to support your claim. Surely eminent social science figures, confident in their research findings, would swat away such a critique via reference to, for instance, published reproducibility studies?
        The paper which you criticize for its writing style, references some of the greatest scientists of the 20th century and you are welcome to challenge their work but I suggest that in your haste to question, you apply a simple skill such as returning to the article to further challenge your own understanding before pronouncing on its merit within 19 minutes of viewing it.

        • Michael Pye says:

          Paceni you are unreasonable. Non-sequitor means “does not follow” and it is reasonable for me worry that an argument has this flaw if it is not easily and clearly explained. Alternatively I may lack fluency in the underlining concepts. (Though they are poorly explained in the article).
          Thus my conclusion “Filed under interesting but possible non sequitur” is a reasonable assessment. It also implies an intention to review and is hardly dismissive, more ambivalent or warily interested.

          Your reply makes several fallacious points. Referencing great scientists has little effect on an article’s integrity. The expert fallacy is well documented and it is a common argument for flawed or outright wrong ideas to latch unto famous people. Even famous scientists make poor assertions (Google the Noble disease for an example of what happens when people stray from their expertise).
          Also she has been publicly praised for her response to at least one scientists criticism of her work. (I will dig this up later)

          Daniel Kahneman has publicly supported Dweck and despite several high profile retractions and academics losing positions due to fraud she does not seem to be discredited. This might change but until it does I think I am correct to consider your implied view that her works is proved wrong with a pinch of salt. This is despite my own reservations of her theory.

          Now you are welcome to challenge the field of psychology and notable academics in that field but I suggest that in your haste to question, you apply a simple skill such as looking for information which may counter your own understanding before pronouncing definitively on a well researched and supported theory simply because you have doubts around it veracity.

          P.s I don’t like or use Carol Dwecks mindset theory. This should have no bearing on the above reply.

          • paceni says:

            Wouldn’t a school production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with a group rendition of The Roses of Success have been just as useful as Dweck’s theory? https://youtu.be/GND10sWq0n0
            Get back to any flaws in the article when you have taken your Dweck blinkers off.

          • Michael Pye says:

            Paceni please re-read what I wrote. I don’t believe your last response represents your best argument.

  21. Matthew Hoffman says:

    Colleen is correct and touches on that which has drawn all of us to be teachers. We value the inherent dignity/honesty needed to draw out the best in each other. Thinking happy thoughts while enjoying the work can’t hurt but the art of teaching well begins with a willingness to commit.

    • Chester Draws says:

      Colleen is correct and touches on that which has drawn all of us to be teachers. We value the inherent dignity/honesty needed to draw out the best in each other.

      I like teaching. I like the sensation of imparting knowledge and skills.

      I don’t even believe in “inherent dignity”, let alone teach because of it.

  22. Michael pye says:

    Paceni I have reread your article and shifted my position. I am now reasonably confident that it is indeed a non-sequitor.(it’s arguments to not lead to its conclusions).

    My reasons are

    He is approaching the proplem from a philosophy perspective. The brain states argument seem to be an artifact of this and he shows no direct relavence to mindsets that I can see. His argument seems to be generalised rather then specific.

    His arguments makes sense at a paragraph level but don’t seem relavent to the initial assertion. So what if intelligence is an interplay between test and subject. He needs to explain further.

    He constantly changes the focus of what he is talking about including physics and generalised psychology rather than arguments specific to dwecks theory.

    I do have greater understanding of physics. This guy is seriously screwing them up. Quantum mechanics does not mean what he thinks it means. Also applying quantum mechanics to psychology is classic psudeobabble not a recognised application.

    Finally Bohr is being used out of context in a classic expert fallacy. More importantly by this point hardly anything that has been said links back to the question at hand. Namely analysing Dwecks work.

    In summary this philosophy at is worst. I recommend studying anslems argument for the existence of God. It hides a flawed argument in verbiage hoping you won’t bother to find it. This article does the same.

    Finaly the author may have a point I just don’t believe he’s bothered to express it meaningfully here. I might understand it more with a PhD in philosophy but I certainly won’t understand Dwecks theory as well. I don’t think this author has both.

  23. Michael pye says:

    One to many finallys in that last post.

  24. paceni says:

    ” I do have greater understanding of physics. This guy is seriously screwing them up. Quantum mechanics does not mean what he thinks it means. Also applying quantum mechanics to psychology is classic psudeobabble not a recognised application.”

    Mr Pye,
    I regret to inform you that you may have defamed the author of the article hosted on the Parental Alliance for Choice in Education blog. Your post of February 1st 2017 at 6:37 pm refers. You may wish to apologize.

    I suggest that you should have taken your own advice to “try to figure out some of its ideas” before launching into a defence of Carol Dweck and Jo Boalers theory which, to date, has not been proven. You cited Daniel Kahneman as a supporter of Dweck but ignored entirely his counsel on biased thinking, all the while confident of you being unbiased, while using a dependency on intuition and emotions. Bill Gates has also indicated his interest in Dweck’s Mindset theory but celebrity endorsement does not relieve her of a responsibility to defend her work.

    Given your difficulty in accepting the statement “beliefs are neither mental states, brain states, nor dispositions” referenced in the article have you now read Peter Hacker’s book The intellectual powers; a study of human nature and improved your understanding?

    The flaw at the heart of Dweck & Boaler’s research remains unchallenged. You have not added to any understanding of their theory but have pronounced judgements of support without evidence. Hardly the practice of someone who claims a greater understanding of physics.

    • Michael Pye says:

      “I have greater understanding of Physics” means I have greater understanding of those ideas compared to my understanding of Philosophy or psychology and therefore am able to comment on these concepts more.

      The idea I have defamed anyone is ridiculous, please refrain from anymore nonsense or attempts to intimidate me. You don’t read my posts properly and continuously cherry pick phrases the same way you cherry pick Google articles to support your points. (And yes I did find the articles that you pulled quotes from verbatim, I to can do an internet search).

      Your hypocritical notion that my refusal to accept your definitive conclusion about Dweck is unreasonable but that you are permitted to dismiss her theory because you found a few critical articles is preposterous. You are a walking example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      AND FOR THE FINAL TIME I DON’T LIKE DWECKS THEORY!

      I will no longer be replying to any of your posts.

  25. paceni says:

    Howardat58 There can be little argument that learning without understanding is a waste of time. Be assured that the tide is turning on Carol Dweck’s Mindset research.

  26. […] I’ve logged my scepticism of the ‘mindset thing’ before and won’t go into it again here, but I do think it’s interesting that being prepared to […]

  27. […] in schools, read David Didau‘s bluntly titled, but typically knowledgeable: ‘Is ‘Growth Mindset Bollocks?‘ and then read @Disidealist‘s powerful social critique ‘Telling Penguins to Flap […]

  28. […] many of the claims attached to growth mindset are wrong (the brain is not like a muscle) we can increase IQ. The Flynn effect shows how IQ […]

  29. paceni says:

    While you provide criticisms of Li & Bates’ work you are also giving acknowledgement to the fact that Dweck’s original research has not been replicated. This is a fundamental problem for psychology, which doesn’t seem to restrain or inhibit practitioners from selling their unproven pseudo-science as real science. Why the ‘profession’ tolerate such malpractice and fail to confront the issue head on escapes my understanding.

    • Luc Kumps says:

      I wasn’t giving that acknowledgement. I was only pointing out that Li & Bates did NOT replicate the original research. For example, Mueller & Dweck (1998) was about the impact of mindsets on ATTRIBUTION. Li & Bates (2017) is about the short-term impact on ACHIEVEMENT (which somehow they think is a part of the original research). Therefore it is quite misleading when Li and Bates say they “closely replicate” or to report that they “faithfully replicate”. They are NOT. Replicating is reproducing – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproducibility

  30. […] It’s worth noting that having an incremental (growth) mindset as opposed to an entity (fixed) mindset appears to make little difference. This is in line with the critique of growth mindset I’ve offered here. […]

  31. […] children and adolescents. A 2016 survey by the Edcuation Week Research Center has shown that 80% of teachers who implement Dweck’s findings do not make effective changes in the classroom. Recent examination […]

Constructive feedback is always appreciated

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