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Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs about Intelligence and Instruction

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1 Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs about Intelligence and Instruction
Kathleen Cauley, PhD Joseph Tadlock, M.Ed. VCU School of Education Paper presented at the MERC conference, March 13, 2012

2 Beliefs about Intelligence: Two Mindsets
Fixed mindset: Intelligence is an immutable trait that leads people to demonstrate how much ability they have; Entity view Failure means you aren’t smart; try to arrange successes and avoid failure Growth mindset: Intelligence is a capacity that can be modified and improved with effort and persistence; Incremental view Failure isn’t discouraging, it’s a challenge, an opportunity to learn Give the Dweck scale. Have them score it. Fixed Incremental Demonstrate/prove self develop/willing to stretch to learn something new Sensitive to mistakes Failure= not smart failure isn’t discouraging, is a challenge give up persist, improve strategies Devalue effort (dweck says It’s startling the degree they don’t Believe in effort) effort is good Practice less study more Self handicapping strategies Avoid learning/remediation willing to learn (Chinese, neuroscience studies from Dweck & Master 2005, I think) Don’t want to expose deficiencies

3 Where Do The Mindsets Come From?
Parents and Teachers Type of praise Type of criticism How talk about ability Standards used to evaluate S’s Willingness to help How can students gain faith in their potential??? PRAISE Praise ability: fixed, reject challenge, keep doing easy stuff, failure means not smart. 40% lie about scores says we can judge ability from a performance vs. praise effort: incremental. 90% want challenging task. Failure = try harder. Choose opportunities to learn CRITICISM person - helpless, find fewer ways to fix the problem process- growth HOW TALK ABOUT ABILITY Describe famous scientists got there by: genius hard work, dedication, passion STANDARDS compare performance to others compare performance to own past performance: can see results of effort WILLINGNESS TO HELP managers with incremental beliefs were more likely to provide guidance, useful feedback, facilitate problem solving, inspire employees to work to potential

4 A Teacher’s Mindset Can Affect Instruction
Teachers with an entity view of ability are less likely to create autonomy supportive environments (Leroy, Bressoux, Sarrazin, & Trouilloud, 2007). may be less likely to help students, or may make decisions that enable students to demonstrate their ability such as grading on the curve or displaying highest grades, give ability praise So, if we believe that a growth mindset is important for students, then how do we help inculcate that with students in our classrooms? Prior research has also shown that teachers’ intelligence beliefs can influence instructional decisions

5 The Objective Few studies have investigated inservice or preservice teachers’ intelligence beliefs (Dweck & Master, 2005; Jones, Bryant, Snyder, & Malone, 2011). To determine the intelligence beliefs of preservice teachers and examine the relationship between their beliefs about intelligence and their agreement with particular instructional and motivational strategies.

6 Participants 138 students in EDUS 301 classes: 23% male and 77% female. 62% Caucasian, 19% African American, 7% Asian, 4% Hispanic, and 7% other. Of the 138, 45% planned to teach elementary students, 6% middle school, 28% high school, and 20% didn’t plan to teach. Only the 120 students who planned to teach were selected for further study.

7 Online survey had 4 sections
Theories of intelligence: 4 items from Dweck's (1999) theories of intelligence scale. Attitudes toward instructional practices: developed from work by Dweck (1999) on strategies to support incremental beliefs. A rating scale regarding autonomy supportive instructional choices, developed from work by Reeve and Jang (2006) and Jang, Reeve, and Deci (2010). 4. Demographics: gender, ethnicity, and level and content participants plan to teach.

8 Findings On the Dweck scale, 83% of the preservice teachers indicated intelligence beliefs consistent with an incremental view. The table shows the percent agreement with each of the instructional strategies.

9 Instructional Practices
Teachers should Incremental Beliefs % Agree Entity Beliefs a. Display the work of students with the highest grades as examples to others 38.2 72.1 b. Provide opportunities for students to compete against one another 56.2 66.6 c. Keep everyone together with the same learning activities and assignments. 47.2 64.7 d. Insist that students redo assignments until they get it. 70.8 e. Avoid telling students the highest score and the average on tests. 38.7 45.5 f. When a student has an easy time with a task, apologize for assigning a task that wasn’t challenging enough to learn from 18 33.3 g. Grade students on a curve 39.3 53 h. Praise capable students frequently with words like “you’re so smart” or “you’re brilliant” 40.5 44.4 Note that many of these allow S’s to demonstrate ability, and many with incremental beliefs endorse them. A, b, c. g. H is ability praise, and 40% of incremental endorse it!!!! Items d and e and f focus more on growth mindset. ---d is good showing, but not everyone ---few agree with e and f

10 Findings Regarding Autonomy
When a student gets stuck 99% said the teacher should offer a hint or suggestion When students get frustrated and complain 99% would empathize and acknowledge the students’ perspective When introducing a new concept 75% said students should be given enough time to figure it our in their own way When a student does well on a test 83% would tell the S “I can tell that you really understand this. Two possible solutions to an instructional situation were presented, one autonomy supportive and one not autonomy supportive. Of those with incremental beliefs:

11 Conclusions While most preservice teachers appear to hold incremental beliefs about ability, not all do. Those who do have incremental beliefs frequently endorse instructional and motivational strategies that could engender entity beliefs in students Those of us in preservice education need to help our students understand the motivational effects of instructional techniques

12 Conclusions To develop incremental beliefs in students, it is best to emphasize effort, persistence and developing ability and Minimize techniques in grading and instruction that compare students with one another, such as grading on the curve or displaying work with the highest grade, praising ability, etc.

13 “But I really think if you focus on their development, I think the winning will take care of itself.” Shaka Smart, 3/6/2012 after winning the CAA championship.

14 References Blackwell, L., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), Dweck, C. (1999). Self Theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis. Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House. Dweck, C. and Master, A. (2005). Self-theories and motivation: Their impact on competence motivation and acquisition. In Al Elliot and C. Dweck (Eds.) Handbook of competence and Motivation (pp ). New York: Routledge. Jang, H., Reeve, J., Deci, E. (2010). Engaging students in learning activities: It is not autonomy support or structure but autonomy support and structure. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(3), Jones, B. D., Bryant, L. H., Snyder, J. D., & Malone, D. (April, 2011). Intelligence Beliefs of Preservice and Inservice Teachers. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. Leroy, N., Bressoux, P., Sarrazin, P., Trouilloud, D. (2007). Impact of teachers’ implicit theories and perceived pressures on the establishment of an autonomy supportive climate. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 22(4), Reeve, J. & Jang, H. (2004). What teachers say and do to support students’ autonomy during a learning activity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1),

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