Tag Archives: Mindset

Know Thy Impact! My first foray into ‘curriculum design’ and evaluating its success

In September and October of last year (2014) I ran a 7 session program that I called ‘The Mathematics Applied Preparation Program’ (MAP for short). For the students, it was a last sprint before their end of year exams. We covered a different one of the five topics with an additional session for introductions and one for wrap up. For me it was the bringing together of a lot of things that I’d been reading and learning over the preceding year on education, and a chance to try to put some of those ideas into action. This post is a much delayed reflection on the planning, implementation, and outcomes from the program, concluding with lessons to take forward into my future teaching. (See the program content here).

happy mathsI began the program with the end in mind, and the intended learning outcomes for the students were threefold. Firstly, I wanted to introduce them to the work of Carol Dweck, I wanted to help them to understand the concept of ‘mindset’ and it was my intention that participating in MAP would aid them in gaining a growth mindset (for those unfamiliar with this concept you can see a presentation I did on mindset here). Secondly, I was hoping to help students to develop higher levels of motivation to facilitate them actually doing the work required to learn the content. Finally, I wanted to help them to feel at ease with Math. This relates to not being anxious about it, and not trying to avoid it in future.

To track how the students progressed on the above metrics I designed a questionnaire (Likert scale, 6=strongly agree, 1=strongly disagree) to monitor their progress. This questionnaire was taken by students during the introductory session and then again at completion of the course. The better part of this blog post is dedicated to exploring the results of that questionnaire… were mindsets changed?

Unfortunately, the program didn’t have as many students as I would have liked. Despite promotion at three schools* only 2 students attended the program from start to finish, and 3 other students only attended selected sessions on the topics of interested to them. It would be nice to have a larger sample size from which to draw conclusions about the success or otherwise of the program with respect to the three goals outlined above. But I think the process is still a helpful one, even if just to explore how I could better design and implement such a survey in future.

*Two of which I visited in person, doing a short mnemonic exercise as a taster. For the other school a flier was distributed to all students taking the relevant maths class.

How did Mindset change throughout the program?

Though I wanted to explicitly address this topic, I found it hard to track down resources to help explore the concept with students (I have since found this excellent lesson plan). The resources from Carol Dweck’s work appeared pitched at younger students (the students in this program were 17 to 18). I was hoping to also find some resources that referred to brain plasticity as a basis for suggesting that ‘everyone can do maths’. I couldn’t find any such resources**, so decided to take a bit of a different approach. The approach would be that simply through giving them an experience of success in mathematics, they would hopefully have first hand experience that they could do it. I based the mindset component of my questionnaire on the test found on Carol Dweck’s website. Here are the results (S1 (Student 1) and S2 attended the entirety of the program. S3 only attended 3 sessions).

Mindset quiz. Likert scale. 1=strongly disagree, 6=strongly agree 

Summary: Looking at the mindset scores in the rightmost column, both students who attended the entirety of the program saw increases in their mindset scores (10 points and 7 points respectively), indicating increases in growth mindsets. Student 3 saw a drop in mindset score, but only of 3 points. Obviously the reliability of these scores is debatable, however hopefully they are generally reflective of increases in growth mindset.

An improvement I would make in future would be to use simpler wording in the second and eighth questions to ensure that students aren’t misinterpreting them. I will apply this improved version of the mindset quiz in future to monitor mindset changes in my classes.

**It is the claim of Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ (primarily based on the work of Anders Ericsson) that anyone can attain a level of elite performance with sufficient deliberate practice, with reference to ‘the 10,000 hour rule’, i.e., 10,000 hours is roughly the amount of time it requires to attain elite status.  Ericsson claims that  “It is possible to account for the development of elite performance among healthy children without recourse to unique talent (genetic endowment)—excepting the innate determinants of body size” (Ericsson, 2007, p.4) “. This was a revelation to me when I first heard of it, and I immediately started quoting it to students. Unfortunately, I have since found that the initial research proposing this 10,000 hour rule had some serious flaws (See the work of David Humbrick and colleagues). Interestingly, John Hattie identifies five major dimensions of excellent ‘expert’ teachers, one of which is the following.

Expert teachers believe that all students can reach the success criteria: Such an expectation requires teachers to believe that intelligence is changeable rather than fixed (even if there is evidence to show it may not be…).’ (Hattie, 2013, location. 697).

An interesting dilemma for teachers, and one I know I’ll continue to grapple with…

How did motivation change throughout the program? 

I knew that the students coming into the program had low motivation levels, so I tacked on a few questions to the survey in an attempt to diagnose their motivational weak points. The motivation centric questions in the survey were based on the procrastination equation (which I go into more detail about here). Essentially, Steel (2007) writes that procrastination is a function of three qualities or attitudes with 4 sub-beliefs/factors. Here is a screenshot from my learning model mind map that details these factors.

Motivation factors, mind mapHere is the survey results for the motivation section of of the survey. The light blue row indicates which of the factors each of the questions relates to (2 for each factor. Note: The order in which the questions appear here is not the order in which they appeared in the survey, there were split up in the survey).

Click for larger view

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.01.38 am

(Motivation score algorithm: =N7+(7-O7)+P7+(7-Q7)+R7+(7-S7)+T7+(7-U7)+V7+(7-W7))

We can discuss each of the students one by one (or you can jump 3 paragraphs ahead to the summary).

Student 1 showed a small increase in time sensitivity, no increase in the belief of relevance of mathematics to his life, an increase in how boring he found mathematics, an increased belief that he could achieve in mathematics, but a decrease in his belief that he knows how to study. In summary, Student 1 demonstrated decreases or no change in all but 1 of the motivation metrics.

Student 2 displayed no change in time sensitivity, no change in their views on the relevance of mathematics to their life, a 2 point increase in both of the questions relating to their enjoyment of mathematics, a slight increase in their belief that they can achieve in maths, and an increase across both questions relating to a feeling that he knew how to study well and improve his skills in mathematics. Student 2 showed no change or an improvement in all metrics related to motivation.

Student 3 showed an increase in time sensitivity, a decreased belief in the relevance of mathematics to their life, a decrease in their enjoyment of mathematics, a decrease in their belief that they can achieve in maths, and a slight increase in their belief that they know how to study effectively. Thus, an improvement in two of the motivational metrics and a decrease in 3.

Summary: Looking at the aggregated motivation scores, student 1 demonstrated a 3 point decrease in motivation, no change for student 3, and a 10 point increase for student 2. As with the mindset results, the reliability here is definitely uncertain.

How did anxiety and avoidance attitudes change throughout the program?

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 9.19.08 amAnxiety is on factor that I knew could potentially be significantly compromising student’s test performance. This is as anxious thoughts take up space in working memory and reduce processing power allocated to the actual mathematics (more on that here). As such, I wanted to ask students if their anxiety about mathematics reduced over the course of the program. I also knew that actions speak louder than words and one big indicator of whether students’ attitudes towards mathematics had changed was whether they would avoid mathematics in future. Top right are the 2 questions and the results relating to these two points (again: 6 is strongly agree, 1 is strongly disagree).

Two students were more anxious and one did not display change in their self rating of anxiety. Two students wanted to avoid maths more in future and, again, one did not change his self rating. There was , however, overlap, so all students saw decreases on at least one of these metrics with none displaying an increase.

Final reflections

The program was fun to run. It was my first move from the role of a reactive tutor to the arena of ‘curriculum design’. I relished the chance to plan out 7 sessions of 2.5 hours each in which to try to address the big issues of mindset, motivation, and anxiety in tandem with helping them to gain greater success in their final exams and general understandings of the mathematical concepts. Success? Well, I learned a lot and I feel I formed some strong bonds with the students. The major lesson for me, aside from this being my first attempt at actually measuring the impact of my teaching,  was about keeping a tab on the cognitive load that you’re putting on students and not trying to cover too much in a session. There’s a fine line between guiding students to deeper knowledge and drowning them in a barrage of information. It’s a balance I’ve continued to try to find in my current educational engagement, My Masters of Teaching semester 1 month placement in a Melbourne High School. Watch this space for the lessons I’ve been running, the lessons I’ve been learning, and the pedagogical techniques I’ve been trying over the past 3 weeks with my year 9 Mathematics classes!


Ericsson, K. A. (2007). Deliberate practice and the modifiability of body and mind: Toward a science of the structure and acquisition of expert and elite performance. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 38, 4–34.

Hattie, Visible learning for Teachers, Kindle version

Steel, P. (2007). The nature of procrastination: A meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 133(1), 65-94. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.1.65



Dealing with Test Anxiety: Avoidance, Acceptance and White Bears.

Have you ever heard of the white bear intelligence test? Whoever thinks of a white bear the least is the smartest. So, let’s try it out:

Screen shot 2014-10-23 at 8.42.06 AM

The test starts now: Don’t think of a white bear…

I told you not to think of a white bear!  Ok, so you thought of a white bear. But now you really have to stop thinking about a white bear, the more you think about it the dumber you are. Just suppress the thought of a white bear so there is absolutely no image of a white bear in your head.

I said DON’T THINK ABOUT A WHITE BEAR, this really isn’t looking good for your intelligence score…

Obviously this isn’t a very good test of intelligence, so why are we thinking about white bears and trying to suppress these thoughts? Because this is an exercise used by Senay, Cetinkaya and Usaka (2012) to explore acceptance of test-anxiety-related thoughts as a means of  helping students to improve their test performance.

For many people, anxiety about tests is one of the main factors that reduces test performance. This occurs because anxious thoughts such as “I’m no good at maths” or “I’m going to fail” or “this is too hard” occupy space in working memory. This reduces the cognitive processing power that’s available to be allocated to actually doing the test (Ashcraft & Kirk, 2001). The default coping strategy for many students is to try to suppress these anxious thoughts, but what can often happen is that (as with the white bear whom we met above) the thoughts just keep on popping up, and sometimes trying to suppress them can just increase their prevalence!

Screen shot 2014-10-23 at 9.21.27 AMThere’s a compounding factor at play here too, and that’s the fact that students often realise that these anxious thoughts are compromising their performance. This adds extra pressure on them to suppress these thoughts (pressure that I tried to simulate above by suggesting that the white bear exercise was in fact an intelligence test [but I probably didn’t fool you]) and can lead to the vicious cycle pictured to the right.

note: It can infact be more like a vicious spiral, with the student getting more and more stressed as the test goes on… but I didn’t know how to make a spiral in Microsoft SmartArt Graphics.

Senay, Cetinkaya and Usaka (2012) wanted to test ‘acceptance’ as a technique to help students deal with test-related-anxiety. They took 87 college freshmen, both male and female who were doing an intro-to-psychology class, and performed the intervention immediately prior to a class test. They split the participants into 4 groups. A control group (told to just do the exam is they normally would), a group who had a 10 minute training on anxiety avoidance techniques*, a group had a 10 minute training on anxiety acceptance techniques**, and a group who received training in both.

*ie: avoid the things that are likely to produce anxiety for as long as you can. In this case the main technique spoken about was to pass any difficult questions and come back to them once all of the easy questions were completed

**Here the students were told to 1: don’t try to suppress anxious thoughts (at this point the white bear example was invoked to prove that suppression doesn’t actually work), 2: not pass judgement on whether or not their anxious thoughts were justified (eg: ‘Am I having this thought because I actually am dumb?’ This equates to realising that the “White Bear Intelligence Test” is in fact not an intelligence test), 3: see anxious thoughts are something that are going to naturally pass through a person’s mind, and that they don’t have to do anything about them. From time to time, everyone thinks about white bears!

I’m keen to emphasise here that this intervention was only 10 minutes long, and immediately prior to the test, this makes the results even more interesting!

Screen shot 2014-10-23 at 8.55.01 AM

Of course it was checked that there wasn’t any bias present in the groups prior to the training (ie: all groups had a similar distribution of ‘anxious’ and ‘not-so-anxious-ish’ people) and all that jazz, and in the end, this is what came out in the wash (see right, from pg. 423)

All 3 treatment groups did (statistically) significantly better than the control group!

The authors also looked at test scores as a function of how frequently test strategy was employed. This was measured by asking the participants to rate, on a scale from 1 to 7, whether they used coping techniques (7 being very frequently). This revealed an interesting result.

Screen shot 2014-10-23 at 9.03.22 AMEssentially, the more often the treatment participants employed the techniques, the more successful they were in the test (correlation). Conversely, more frequent use of techniques by the control group (techniques of their own choosing) was correlated with lower exam scores. This was likely because it was simply an indication that they were having more anxious thoughts, which were not being effectively dealt with and thus compromising their performance.

Also interesting to note is that there was no statistically significant difference between the results of the 3 treatment groups. The authors suggested that this could have been due to a ceiling effect whereby maximum returns to technique were reached by either of the strategies used in isolation (acceptance or avoidance). Thus, using strategies in combination didn’t yield any significant improvements above the use of either of them individually.

So, in conclusion, you help your students to improve their test performance by letting them know that skipping hard questions and coming back to them later and by telling them that it’s ok and normal to have anxious thoughts. “When you have anxious thoughts you can just think to yourself ‘how interesting, an anxious thought, oh well, that’s normal’ and continue on with your test”. I’m amazed by how just a 10 minute intervention had statistically significant results!

I would be interested to see the effects of longer term acceptance strategy training, such as meditation, on an individual’s ability to deal with anxious thoughts. I’m personally really enjoying using the Headspace app at the moment to do daily meditation. And I do feel that an approach of ‘seeing my thoughts as passing cars on the road, there’s no need to get picked up and taken away by them, just watch them pass’ has really helped me to be more positive and let negative emotions go more easily since I started the training a few weeks ago  :)


Ashcraft, M. H., & Kirk, E. P. (2001). The Relationships among working memory, math anxiety, and performance. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130, 224–237.

Senay, I., Cetinkaya, M. and Usak, M. (2012). Accepting test-anxiety-related thoughts increases academic performance among undergraduate students. Psihologija, 45(4), pp.417–432.




Taking Care of Business – Identifying Your Motivational Weak Points and How to Address them

It’s time to get better at Taking Care of Business!

For many people, managing motivation in order to Take Care of Business (TCB) is an ongoing challenge throughout life. The goal of this post is to help you understand and name the factors that are influencing your motivation. Once you learn to identify your own motivational weak points, you’ll be empowered to address them in a targeted way.

This article is based on findings from a psychological paper entitled:

The nature of procrastination: A meta-analytic and theoretical review of quintessential self-regulatory failure. Steel, Piers. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 133(1), Jan 2007, 65-94. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.1.65

The paper can be found in full here and a good summary of it is available in this LessWrong article. In short, Steel came up with what he calls ‘the procrastination equation’.*

Motivation Equation (my terminology)

Steel’s research identified there are four main things that effect how motivated you are to do any given task. I remember them as the three things you need to address in order to Take Care of Business (TCB). These factors are:

Let’s address each of them in turn. For each, I’ll briefly comment on how I address each of them and will provide links to a whole host of methods that people find useful.

*Please note: I have changed the terminology used in the original paper in order to make it more easy to remember. In the following I wrap Time Sensitivity and Deadline up into one because they’re only relevant when viewed as a pair.

Time Sensitivity and Deadline

Are you the kind of person who appears to have a remarkable ability to not do things until the last minute? Maybe you don’t manage to start assignments till 4am the night before it’s due, maybe you don’t even think about christmas shopping till Christmas eve. If this sounds like you perhaps your motivation weak point is your time sensitivity. People with low time sensitivity don’t feel much of a sense of urgency about things. Time Sensitivity combines with how far away the Deadline is to influence motivation. If your time sensitivity is low, and the deadline is far away, your motivation is likely to be pretty low.

Top Tip for managing your Time Sensitivity and Deadlines
. There’s one key thing that, if you learn to properly take advantage of it, will help you overcome your Time Sensitivity.

sitivity weakness: The Power of Habit!  In the Ted Talk below Charles Duhigg introduces us to one of the most powerful psychological drivers that we can learn to harness, the Cue-Reward loop. Check out the 15 minute talk to unlock your power of habit.

(if you’re viewing this in email the video can be seen here)

More info:
Here’s how the website LessWrong suggests you deal with a low Time Sensitivity (they call it impusliveness)
Here’s some more good tips from AlexVermeer on Impulsiveness.

Care Factor

Motivation-Care Factor

Care factor relates to 2 types of caring. 1: Care about, 2: Care for. 1 relates to whether you ‘Care About’ the outcome. It’s likely that your care factor is very high for some outcomes (eg: staying alive) and maybe not as high for others (cleaning?). 2 relates to how much you ‘Care For’ the actions required to get to the outcome. Here are the possible combinations of these two Care factors and the possible/likely outcomes.

  • Low Care About, Low Care For: Maybe this is the case in your job or school. You don’t like it and you don’t think that what you’re doing has any value. See below these dot points for methods to address both your care about and your care for factors.
  • High Care About, Low Care For: Your motivation is probably pretty high, but you may start to feel weary as time goes on and you may burn out. This is the case for many teachers who care a lot about their students but are working in bad conditions. It’s also what leads to burnout for many activists how have a long time between successes
  • Low Care About, High Care For: Great, you enjoy doing the task itself! for example, you’ve just started to learn the piano and you’re enjoying your practice. Only problem with this combo is once you hit a bit of a challenge (as is inevitable on any learning journey) and maybe you’re not enjoying it so much anymore, you don’t care about the outcome enough to push through
  • High Care About, High Care For. Awesome, you’re well on your way to success : )

Top Tip for managing your Care About. Ultimately this is about linking what you’re trying to get motivated about to your life and what you want to achieve in it. This goal setting exercise can help you do this.

Top Tip for managing your Care For. Some times in life we come up against situations where we just have to do something that we don’t want to. But it’s important to remember that no matter what you’re doing, there is always the possibility to see the action in a more negative or in a more positive light. This video by Brendon Burchard addresses how you can train yourself to see situations more positively, and to recognise when you’re in a place of negative thoughts. See the bottom of this post for how I’ve applied this to get over some of my study obstacles.

More Info:
-Here’s how the website LessWrong suggests you deal with a low care factor (they call it ‘Value’)
Here’s some more good tips from Alex Vermeer on Value


Belief, like care factor, is also split into 2 main sub-categories. 1: ‘Belief that success is possible’ and 2: ‘Belief that that you taking action will lead to that success’. These two points are related and you need both of them satisfied in order to feel motivated to take action.

Believing that Success is Possible: ‘Belief that success is possible’ is in a large part dependent upon believing that you yourself are capable of achieving. There are three main pathways to self belief as outlined by Richard Shell in his book.(See kindle location 3166 of the book Springboard). These three pathways are:

  1. Someone you respect believes that ‘You Can Do It!-This is where amazing teachers come in and change lives for many students! An experiment that clearly proves this is Pygmalion in the Classroom.
  2. A Rite of Passage-ie: you overcome some obstacle and realise you’re actually capable of achieving greatness.
  3. You have Faith-Maybe you have a religion or positive thinking technique or you recite mantras or having a ‘lucky charm’ or something like that.

Top Tip for fostering belief that you can achieve. All three pathways to self-belief are open to you. I find that watching the 5 minute clip that I mentioned above, Pygmalion in the Classroom, to be incredibly inspiring. It helps to remind me that simply by changing expectations you change your chances of success. Ultimately, belief that you can get smarter and achieve is a question of mindset, if you’d like some more reinforcement after watching Pygmalianin the Classroom, check out this presentation that I put together on Mindset.

Believing that you taking action can lead to success: This is the crunch. And it’s a legitimate question “If I do this, will it actually make me any better”. In some scenarios it’s obvious that taking the action will lead to improvements but it others it isn’t that clear. At this point it’s super important to stress the importance of being strategic in how you spend your time practicing/taking action. This point opens this blog post up to the world of productivity/learning literature, but for now I’ll just keep it to a top tip.

Top Tip for believing that you taking action will lead to success. Be Strategic! The best way that I now of doing this is through the 5 step learning method of S.A.(U).L.T. This is the method that I use to learn efficiently and it enabled me to do well in my Economics and Physics degrees at University. I don’t think that I’m a genius by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think that I work hard and I work smart. I hope that the S.A.(U).L.T Learning process can help you to learn quickly and efficiently too.

More Info:
Here’s how the website LessWrong suggests you deal with a low level of belief (they call it expectancy)
Here’s some more god tips from Alex Vermeer on Expectancy
Josh Kaufman’s 4 step method of learning anything in 20 hours
Tim Ferriss’ fast learning approach as outlined in the book ‘The Four Hour Chef‘.

Ollie’s Methods

How do I address my own time sensitivity? I have one trick that I often use when I have low motivation because I feel like a test is a long way away. I look at past exams. This makes me aware of my knowledge gap (chances are I’ll see many of the questions and think ‘holy moly, I have no idea how to do this!) and motivates me to study straight away. For situations in life when I don’t have that “look at a test” option I’ll often self-impose a deadline. One recent example was when I wanted to learn about mindset, so I put my hand up to run a workshop on mindset at the University of Tasmania. Nothing like a deadline to get you motivated!

 How do I address my Care Factor? At times whilst doing my undergrad in physics my care factor was pretty low. Eg: “How does knowing anything about a quark ever going to affect my life???”. At times like these I’d sit down at my desk and lay my books out in front of me. I’d then close my eyes and force myself to smile and repeat over and over to myself “I love physics, I love learning, I can’t wait to work on these problems and learn all about quarks.”. This technique takes advantage of the fact that your body language shapes who you are and I found it incredibly helpful.
Another approach here is to address the ‘Care For’ element. If we develop mastery based goals rather than performance based goals  we’re in a better position to stay motivated over the long run. There are two clear examples of this in my life:
-When I started this blog the initial impetus was that I came to a realisation that being a successful and well respected academic/teacher/person these days  needs an online presence, so I set about to do that. I was spending a heap of time on twitter trying (relatively unsuccessfully) to get more followers and was trying to post every week on this site to keep things moving. Eventually I came to the realisation that I would enjoy things more if I didn’t pressure myself to post but instead posted when I felt like it and to use posts as a way to order and consolidate my own thinking. Since changing my outlook on posting, maintaining this blog has been much more enjoyable for me.
-The second example is running. I find that running to ‘look healthy and fit’ isn’t incredibly motivating for me. I used to try to get personal records but I found that the pressure of having to beat my previous PR was actually working as a de-motivator for me. I have started to run without a watch, I just head out of the house with my sneakers on and get moving and take in the view. If I feel like it I’ll really push myself, if I don’t I just coast. Either way, by focusing on making the task itself enjoyable I’ve made both my blogging and jogging more sustainable.

One last thing… For those in a position to decide how you spend the time, the other thing to do here is to really look in detail at what you’re doing and whether you’re truly following your passion. Maybe your care factor is low for a reason… maybe you really should be doing something else! Books like The 4-Hour Workweek and Springboard have really helped me to stay focused and on track.

How do I address Belief? I have a pretty strong sense of self belief, primarily through pathway 1 (parents believing in me). As such I’ve been motivated to explore the space of efficient learning and to really try to work out how that works for me. If I was to bullet point my approach to learning new things it would be as follows:

  • Work out what I want to do/learn
  • Try to find someone who’s done it before and ask how they did it
  • Next best thing to asking someone directly is to read about a successful person’s approach (If you find a book that looks like it’s going to cover the topic nicely, google the author with google’s video filter and you can often find a really concise summary that will work as a good primer for your brain before you read it, or instead if you’re really pressed for time)
  • Surround myself with other people with similar goals (eg: Every monday I hold a hot pot at my house for people learning mandarin and people learning english and we have a great time and keep each other motivated)
  • Once I’ve learnt something that’s important for me to retain to get to my ultimate goal (if it’s a learning project), I try to work out some method of remembering it. Probably a mnemonic or a rhyme or something. (see my series on cognition for more detail). And finally…
  • Practice! If the task is something academic then I’ll use Spaced Repetition Software to memorise it.


Motivation is a big one, and it’s something that for me seems to wax and wane throughout life. Hopefully by dissecting motivation and understanding it better, as this article has attempted to do, we’re all in a better position to keep our motivation high. Trying different techniques for motivation is something that I’m constantly reviewing and updating. It’s an exciting journey.

Here’s Alex Vermeer’s diagram encapsulating many of the pathways to get from low care factor, low belief or low time sensitivity to motivation!

 Alex Vermeer's guide to defeating procrastination


Mindset-How Theories of Intelligence Affect Learning Approaches and Outcomes

Mindset is a word and concept that has risen to prevalence in educational circles in recent years. Some believe that it’s the single most important factor contributing to learning approaches and outcomes for students. As such, it’s a concept that I have been very interested in and was keen to delve deeper into. I headed straight* to two academic papers in particular that shed light on the subject.

Mangels, J. (2006). Why do beliefs about intelligence influence learning success? A social cognitive neuroscience model. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, [online] 1(2), pp.75-86

Blackwell, L., Trzesniewski, K. and Dweck, C. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child development, 78(1), pp.246-263.

I was lucky enough to have the chance to summarise some of the key points from these two papers and present them to the University of Tasmania’s Centre for University Pathways and Partnerships (on 19 June 2014). The presentation can be seen in full (25 minutes in total, in 2 parts) in the following two videos and a PDF of the slides can be found at the bottom of this post.

Conclusions: 1. Mindset Matters! 2. Mindset is Malleable!

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on mindset or on what you got out of this presentation, please feel free to comment below.

Edit: check out some great resources on Mindset here. They can be used to share Mindset ideas with students and colleagues.

*I actually began by exploring Carol Dweck’s book Mindset, How You Can Fulfil Your Potential (2012) but I really struggled to read it as, though it clearly has some very important points in it, it felt ‘filled out’ with anecdotal stories that I found very monotonous. I then went back to her earlier (2006) book, Mindset, the New Psychology of Success only to discover that it’s the same book! Another frustration was that the referencing in both of these books  wasn’t any form of standard referencing, instead the notes section in the back simply had entries such as “We offered four-year-olds a choice: This research was done with Charlene Hebert, and was followed up by work with Pat Smiley, Gail Heyman, and Kathy Cain”. (The section in bold refers to an in-text comment). This format of referencing made it very hard to track the claims that were made in the books as well as find the subsequent literature to which Carol Dweck was referring. This is not to say that Dweck isn’t one of the (if not the) main contributors to this field, simply to say that if you are interested in exploring Mindset in depth I would suggest targeting journal articles.