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Assessment for Learning And Carol Dweck’s Self-Theories on how children view themselves as learners.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessment for Learning And Carol Dweck’s Self-Theories on how children view themselves as learners."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Assessment for Learning And Carol Dweck’s Self-Theories on how children view themselves as learners

3 Carol Dweck’s self-theories Carol Dweck has done research over the last 20 years on primary and secondary students in the USA She is particularly interested in how students view themselves as learners Their self-theory is likely to have a major effect on their self-belief, their motivation to learn and their aspirations for the future

4 Self-Theories Entity v Incremental About 40% of US students hold an incremental theory of ability Carol Dweck - Self-Theories: Their role in Motivation, Personality and development, Psychology Press, 1999

5 Self-Theories Entity v Incremental Carol Dweck - Self-Theories: Their role in Motivation, Personality and development, Psychology Press, 1999 About 40% of US students hold an entity theory of ability Easy praise is not the answer - it makes the situation worse

6 What promotes motivation for learning? Four Beliefs and Four Truths about Ability, Success, Praise and Confidence (Carol Dweck – Self-Theories, 1999)

7 What promotes motivation for learning? The hallmark of successful individuals is that they love learning, they value effort and they persist in the face of obstacles. In her book “Self-theories”, Carol Dweck presents research that explains why some students (incremental learners) display these “mastery- oriented” qualities and others (entity learners) do not. She also shows how, in the right environment, students can learn to become incremental learners.

8 1. The belief that students with high ability are more likely to display “mastery oriented” qualities You might think that students who were highly skilled would be the ones to relish a challenge and persevere in the face of setbacks. Instead, many of these students are the most worried about failure, and the most likely to question their ability and to wilt when they hit obstacles (Leggett, 1985)

9 2. The belief that success in school directly fosters mastery-oriented qualities You might also think that when students succeed, they are emboldened and energized to seek out more challenging tasks. The truth is that success in itself does little to boost students’ desire for challenge or their ability to cope with setbacks. In fact we can see that it can have quite the opposite effect. (Diener & Dweck, 1978, 1980)

10 3. The belief that praise, particularly praising a student’s intelligence, encourages mastery- oriented qualities This is a most cherished belief in our society. One can hardly walk down the street without hearing parents telling their children how smart they are. The hope is that such praise will instil confidence and thereby promote a host of desirable qualities. Far from promoting the hoped for qualities, this type of praise can lead students to fear failure, avoid risks, doubt themselves when they fail and cope poorly with setbacks. (Mueller & Dweck, 1998)

11 4. The belief that students’ confidence in their intelligence is the key to mastery-oriented qualities In a way, it seems only logical to assume that students who have confidence in their intelligence – who clearly believe they are smart – would have nothing to fear from challenge and would be somehow inoculated against the ravages of failure. But many of the most confident individuals do not want their intelligence too stringently tested, and their high confidence is all too quickly shaken when they are confronted with difficulty. (Henderson & Dweck, 1990; Dweck & Lin, 1998)

12 How do you view yourself – an incremental learner or an entity learner? Has your self-theory changed or stayed the same since your school days? Discuss in pairs or threes for two or three minutes – explain why you have this self-theory

13 Incremental Learners (mastery oriented) Can focus on the idea that everyone, with effort and guidance, can increase their intellectual abilities Less concerned with looking smart than with learning something new Even if they have low confidence in their intelligence, they can throw themselves whole- heartedly into difficult tasks – and stick with them

14 Entity Learners (goal oriented/helpless) We encourage vulnerabilities in our students when we try to boost their self-esteem in the wrong way Giving them easy successes and praising their intelligence does not encourage a hardy, can-do mentality It fosters an overconcern for looking smart, a distaste for challenge and a decreased ability to cope with setbacks

15 A different view of self-esteem Self-esteem for Entity Learners can be boosted in the short term by easy success – but does not last and is just as easily diminished by failures Self-esteem for Incremental Learners is much more resilient and less likely to be affected by failure It is a positive way of experiencing yourself when you are fully engaged and using all your abilities in pursuit of something you value True self-esteem is not something we give people by telling them about their high intelligence

16 Carol Dweck’s research into how different learners progress on transition to High School Carol followed groups of Incremental Learners and Entity Learners as they progressed through Y7 & Y8

17 What happens to entity & incremental learners after transition to High School? In Y7 the work may become harder in some subjects (may be easier in others!) Grading may become more stringent Instruction may be less personalised Students may initially be less clear about what their teachers require of them Classroom environment may seem less safe

18 What happens to Entity Learners after transition to High School? Many showed a marked decline in their class standing Those who had done poorly in Y6 tended to continue to do poorly Many who had been high achievers in Y6 were now among the lower achievers Many who showed this decline had held high confidence in their intelligence Were significantly more apprehensive about their school work and tended to be more anxious about school in general Did show some recovery in their standing in Y8 but were still clearly below where they had been in Primary School Henderson & Dweck 1990

19 What happens to Incremental Learners after transition to High School? Many showed a clear improvement in their class standing Those who had done well in Y6 continued to do well Many of those who had been among the lower achievers in Y6 were now doing much better, often entering the ranks of higher achievers Many of those making the most impressive gains were those with low confidence in their intelligence Henderson & Dweck 1990

20 Bright Girls’ Helpless Responses In Dweck’s research, students with the most striking history of success were often the most, rather than the least, vulnerable when confronted with difficulties or failure. These are the bright girls. Bright girls were more vulnerable than lower achieving girls (with boys it was the opposite) and more concerned with looking smart.

21 What could we do to encourage more students to become incremental learners? Discuss with a partner for 2 minutes Slide 20

22 How do we move entity learners towards becoming incremental learners? Praise our children in the right way Praise effort, resilience and hard work – not intelligence (ie do not tell children how clever they are) Concentrate children on improving their own performance (in small achievable steps) Remind children that if the work is not hard they are not learning (helps them to accept high challenge) Keep stressing that intelligence is not fixed, but is improved by effort & hard work (we all learn at different rates & in different ways)

23 Examples / role models: Albert Einstein Was slow in learning to talk and initially thought of as “backward” Asked to leave school at 15 for being “disruptive” of his class Failed to get into the Polytechnic School in Zurich to study electronics Failed to get a job as a teacher Later became Professor of Physics and won the Nobel prize for Physics

24 Examples / role models: Winston Churchill At age seven was thought of as “a troublesome boy”* At age nine “made very little progress in lessons”* Became Prime Minister in 1940 Was widely credited with leading Great Britain & her allies to winning World War II * My Early Life by Winston Churchill

25 Thomas Edison said: “You must learn to fail intelligently. Failing is one of the greatest arts in the world. One fails forward to success”.


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