Why adopting a growth mindset matters for youth
- Middle school students who were taught a growth mindset through a neuroscience lesson earned higher math grades than students in a control group.
- Underperforming high school students who were taught a growth mindset earned higher grade point averages and passed more courses than students in a control group.
When students learn the truth about the truth, that it's actually much more malleable than many people think, they do better in school. In a study with middle school students, researchers taught students a growth mindset through a neuroscience lesson. Here's the basic message they heard: The brain's made up of tiny cells called neurons. These neurons are connected to each other, and when the connections are stronger, people can think faster. That's what makes a person smart. When people work hard on challenging school work, the connections in their brain get stronger, making them smarter.
Compared to a control condition, students in the growth mindset condition earn significantly higher math grades. And researchers at Stanford University PERTS have been creating online programs that teach students how the brain gets stronger. Underperforming high school students who participated in a PERTS online growth mindset program had significantly higher GPAs and passed more courses than students in a controlled condition.
If these simple online programs about the brain can impact students grades and course pass rates, imagine the impact that teachers can have through reinforcing a growth mindset every day in the classroom.