It's incredibly popular in schools. Did it just get debunked?
It really seems like schools (at least in the US) are quick to adopt practices that have very little evidential support. When I listened to the "sold a story," podcast, my wife, a school psychologist, said that her school was using the baseless cueing methods the podcast was about until the last year or so, and changes to a more evidence-based approach were met with resistance. Someone posted about a couple of studies of "restorative Justice" discipline in schools, finding little effect. When I brought it up, my wife says her school is gung ho for restorative justice. She tells me Growth mindset stuff is on bulletin boards all over the school district she works in. Starting right now, her whole district is doing some big thing by reading some leadership book, and doing various workshops or something throughout the year, and one of her co-workers, a science teacher, stated that he doesn't want to waste his time, because there is no evidence to support the books claims.
Apparently schools have changed basic math since I was a kid. I've heard numerous parents complain that they can't help their kids because, while they can do the math, they don't know how to show the work required. I now wonder if this new math was adopted because it has been proven to help, or if it it's based on something that sounds nice.
You mentioned in the podcast that there was a meta-analysis that was done by a group of authors skeptical about growth mindset. Would you say that skepticism about an issue one is investigating reflects an ideological conflict of interest, or is that just what it means to be a scientific researcher? At what point would would skepticism about an idea one is investigating be considered an ideological conflict of interest?
We've actually included growth mindset in our hiring practice and staff training. Really, though, it's just a code word for someone with work ethic in our setting.
Thank you for making this. I work at a community college, which is an odd subset of american higher education where we cover the first two years of university. I first suspected something was off when I read Dweck's Mindset as part of a book club our institution had for educational literature. I was surprised by how light the book was on research; it was just a parade of anecdotes. It had little resemblance to the educational psychology books I had been reading that were packed full of data and descriptions of experiments. I previously had made plans to try out a growth mindset intervention in my classes, but reading Mindset convinced me not to. A couple years later, the initial reports about the replication failures of growth mindset came out, and I was glad I didn't waste my time with it.
The problem is that while I dodged the bullet, my institution did not. A few years later I was in a department meeting, and one of my colleagues reported seeing a conference presentation that a fifteen minute growth mindset intervention improved student performance by a full letter grade. My dean suggested that perhaps the entire department should adopt the mindset intervention, and I felt forced into the awkward position of stating that I didn't think the research was real. Thankfully I was able to shut that plan down, but I lost social capital in the process. Growth mindset has popped up again every couple years since then, most recently two weeks ago when one of our vice presidents spoke favorably of it.
The worst part is that once some educators adopt these useless interventions, they never let go. One of my colleagues has been giving students learning styles quizzes for the last decade, despite the numerous reviews where educational psychologists have explained that teaching a student according to their preferred learning style does not improve learning. Even if all growth mindset intervention papers were retracted tomorrow, I will still be hearing about growth mindset in 2040, unless I die of a stroke from hearing about growth mindset.
I think Carol Dweck's career has made education slightly worse. I feel like all of these false-positive education researchers are defecating in a river upstream of me, and I'm stuck with drinking their shitwater. I know that in your positions you have to be diplomatic, but a small portion of my life has been wasted by Carol Dweck. I would like to see some professional consequences for her and the other researchers who keep wasting it.