Collective mindset: developing beliefs about intelligence in the dynamic social context of a school

Leslie, Pippa ORCID logo ORCID: and Seed, Mark (2023) Collective mindset: developing beliefs about intelligence in the dynamic social context of a school. In: Teacher Education Advancement Network (TEAN) Annual Conference, 11-12 May 2023, Manchester, UK. (Unpublished)

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Implicit beliefs that we hold about intelligence are influential, especially our beliefs about its malleability (Sauce and Matzel, 2018). Is intelligence unchangeable, or can it be grown and developed? Existing research suggests that an individual’s implicit belief about malleability of intelligence can support the development of a mastery-approach goal orientation through growth Mindset, which can positively impact on achievement and outcomes (Dweck and Yeager, 2019). This appears to be a simple and logical conclusion, but it can be problematic putting theory into practice in real-world, social primary school settings. This presentation shares new research that engages critically with Mindset Theory to understand how teachers might practically ameliorate for challenges associated with implementation in real-world sociocultural contexts. It will then particularly focus on practical implications this has for children’s knowledge acquisition (Speer, 2005) and our own practice in teaching and teacher education.

This research is a case study of a primary school where teachers were deliberately and collaboratively adopting a pedagogical approach for the development of individual’s growth Mindset. It set out to investigate characteristics of the learning environment using ethnographic approaches that combined participatory observation, interviews and focus groups with teachers and children (Walsh and Seale, 2018). Ongoing thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2019) explored incongruences, congruence and alignment between behaviours and espoused beliefs as the research evolved.

Findings identify characteristics that support a new social model of pedagogy informed by Mindset Theory. The interdependence of six key practices is important to the model’s structure, with the centrality of ‘metacognition’ and ‘negotiation of meaning’ making it distinctive. These two central practices focus on accurate interpretation of Mindset Theory and acknowledging complexity of beliefs. Dialogue and self-social regulation play a pivotal, integrative role in the development of these practices, which encourage teachers and children involved to critically challenge each other’s understanding of Mindset Theory. As this research evolved a substantive- theory of ‘Collective Mindset’ developed to explain the relationship between the practices, principles and beliefs that underpin the model. In this context, ‘Collective Mindset’ is defined as a shared belief held by teachers and children in their capacity to take action together to develop growth Mindset (Leslie, 2021, p. 177). This is a shared belief in their conjoint capabilities to execute the courses of action required to develop intelligence; where they believe that together they have agency to cultivate and sustain practices that develop growth Mindset for themselves and each other.

Key References:
Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2019) ‘Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis’, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11(4), pp. 589-597.
Dweck, C. and Yeager, D. (2019) ‘Mindsets: A view from two eras’, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14(3), pp. 481-496.
Leslie, P. (2021) Collective Mindset: The role of culture, community and metacognition in the development of shared beliefs about intelligence. Lancaster University.
Sauce, B. and Matzel, L.D. (2018) ‘The paradox of intelligence: Heritability and malleability coexist in hidden gene-environment interplay’, Psychological Bulletin, 144(1), pp. 26-47.
Speer, N. M. (2005) ‘Issues of methods and theory in the study of mathematics teachers’ professed and attributed beliefs’, Educational Studies in Mathematics, 58(3), pp. 361-391.
Walsh, D. and Seale, C. (2018) ‘Doing ethnography’ in C. Seale (ed.) Researching Society and Culture, 4th edn. London: Sage, pp. 257-284.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Institute of Education > Initial Teacher Education
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2023 10:06
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 15:01


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