What’s Your Learning Disposition? How to Foster Students’ Mindsets

Here are a few important mindsets to consider.

Belonging to an academic community: Feeling connected to adults and peers at school intellectually, not just socially, through an academic community, is a strong motivator. Feeling a sense of belonging in an intellectual community helps students interpret setbacks as a natural part of learning, and not as a personal deficit that sets them apart.

Belief in the likelihood of success: Students’ belief in their own self-efficacy is a better predictor of academic success than measured ability. Students need to feel that they’re likely to succeed in order to sustain the hard work of learning something challenging. When students believe they’ll fail, they often don’t invest in the work or devalue the task.

The work has meaning and value: The brain naturally looks for connections. When students find academic work to be relevant to lives, interests, and concerns they’re much more likely to work on a task in a sustained way and to perform well. It takes much more energy to focus attention on a task that does not have direct value to the student.

Belief that abilities and intelligence can grow witheffort: Known as a growth mindset, Carol Dweck’s theory, if students believe the brain is a muscle that must be exercised, they’re more likely to interpret setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve. This mindset is associated with the joy of mastering a task, rather than learning for a grade or to outperform others.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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