Mindsets Page

Hello and welcome to Richard Thripp’s page on mindsets.

The following poster was presented by Richard Thripp at the Summer 2016 conference of the Association of Teacher Educators in Louisville, KY on Sunday, July 31, 2016:

Mindsets poster

Click here to download the poster and handout, including references.

The Literature Review

This poster is based on Richard Thripp’s literature review, by the same name.

Click here to read the literature review in HTML, PDF, or MS Word.

Below, is information about the literature review and the abstract:

This literature review was completed 2016-04-21 for the course, EDF 6217: Seminar II in Applied Learning & Instruction, in partial fulfillment of my M.A. in Applied Learning & Instruction at University of Central Florida, awarded 2016-05-07.

This ground-breaking, expansive literature review synthesizes the recent educational research on mindsets (implicit theories of intelligence), pioneered by Dr. Carol Dweck. Please feel free to cite this review. Feedback is welcome, via blog comments, my contact form, or Twitter.

The Implications of Mindsets for Learning and Instruction

Richard Thripp

University of Central Florida

April 21, 2016


Believing that your abilities are fixed or malleable (entity versus incremental theory of intelligence; herein: fixed mindset versus growth mindset) has measurable impacts on academic performance, self-concept, and intelligence beliefs. This literature review is a thematic and topical synthesis of 51 peer-reviewed, empirical journal articles from 2009 to February 2016. Reviewed articles consider mindset alongside various aspects of learning and instruction. Overall, the literature indicates that mindsets are a recurring predictor of numerous facets of academic well-being and success, with growth mindsets almost universally being connected to more useful beliefs and superior outcomes. Mindset interventions, recommendations, limitations, and suggested research practices are discussed.

Keywords: mindsets, educational interventions, implicit theories of intelligence, self-theories, learning, instruction, academic achievement, teacher beliefs, effort, ability, praise


Text and Images of the Poster

What are mindsets?
• Mindsets are a rebranding, popularized by Dr. Carol Dweck, of implicit theories of intelligence.
Growth mindset = malleable theory of intelligence
Fixed mindset = entity theory of intelligence
• Mindsets can be global or domain-specific.
Growth mindset is better.

MindsetKit.org screenshot

Professional Development
MindsetKit.org (pictured above; free) can help you understand and apply mindsets in your practice. Mindsets are important for educators, too. What are your mindsets for your teaching abilities? Technological abilities? Career trajectory? Fixed mindset is a limiting belief. Becoming explicitly aware of your mindsets may be the first step toward replacing fixed mindsets with growth mindsets.

What happens with fixed mindset?
• Learners believe they are stuck where they are
• Learners give up too easily
• Since abilities are fixed, learners become preoccupied with concealing their weaknesses
• Fixed mindset becomes part of their identity, e.g., “I’m not a math person.”

What happens with growth mindset?
• Learners believe they can get better
• Learners are less afraid to fail publicly
• Instead of saying to successful peers: “you’re so lucky, they ask: “how did you get there?”
• Growth mindset may promote health, well-being, good emotions, low stress, and achievement (King, 2012; Romero et al., 2014; Yeager et al., 2014).

Closed vs. open task example: area of a triangle

Giving open tasks, when feasible and with appropriate scaffolding, can help encourage growth mindset. It’s important to give students enough time to struggle. Giving answers too quickly can have dire consequences.

As an educator, how can I impart growth mindset?
Praise effort, not ability. Don’t say things like “you’re so smart” (person-oriented praise). Instead, say things like “great job—you applied yourself well” (process-oriented praise). Think about how you interact with students. Encourage students to use effective strategies.

Teachers who believe their students’ abilities are fixed:
• May have a performance-avoidance goal orientation for teaching (Shim et al., 2013)
• May be quick to make negative judgments about students’ abilities (Rattan et al., 2012)
• May give “comforting” feedback that belittles and demotivates students (Rattan et al., 2012)

Teachers who believe their students’ abilities can grow:
• Tend to give strategy-oriented feedback that motivates students (Rattan et al., 2012)
• Tend to praise hard work, promoting task persistence and enjoyment (Mueller & Dweck, 1998)
• May have and impart a mastery goal orientation for teaching and learning (Shim et al., 2013)

“The teacher should portray challenges as fun and exciting, while portraying easy tasks as boring and less useful for the brain” (Dweck, 2010; emphasis added).

“Implicit theories are indeed consequential for self-regulatory processes and goal achievement” (meta-analysis by Burnette et al., 2013; emphasis added).

Growth Mindset for Teachers When Using Technology figure by Mark Anderson:

Growth Mindset for Teachers When Using Technology figure

Mindsets are distinct from both achievement goals (De Castella & Byrne, 2015; Dinger et al., 2013) and self-efficacy (Komarraju & Nadler, 2013).

The research below attests to the veracity of mindsets and the power of mindset interventions:

Mind-Set Interventions Are a Scalable Treatment for Academic Underachievement

It's ok — Not everyone can be good at math

Parent Praise Predicts Children's Motivational Frameworks

Poster by Richard Thripp, who holds a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Applied Learning & Instruction from University of Central Florida and is starting in the Education Ph.D., Instruction Technology program in fall 2016 at the same university.

Thanks to Drs. Bobby Hoffman and Richard Hartshorne for guidance.

References available separately. You may photograph and share this poster for not-profit use. Inclusion of journal article abstracts and MindsetKit.org screenshot constitutes fair use. Thanks to Mark Anderson for releasing the “Growth Mindset for Teachers When Using Technology” figure with Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license. Closed vs. open task figure by Richard Thripp.

Text of the Handout

The Implications of Mindsets for Learning and Instruction

A literature review (April 2016) and poster presentation (July 2016) by Richard Thripp, M.A.

Starting August 22, 2016, I am an Education Ph.D. student, Instructional Technology track, at University of Central Florida.

Relevance and Implications of Mindsets

It is rare to find a class of educational interventions that are as simple and replicable as mindsets. While mindsets are a relabeling, popularized by Dweck (2006), of implicit theories of intelligence, evidence suggests implicit theories are differentiated from both achievement goals (De Castella & Byrne, 2015; Dinger, Dickhäuser, Spinath, & Steinmayr, 2013) and self-efficacy (Komarraju & Nadler, 2013). This means that mindsets frequently emerge as unique predictors for a host of student outcomes. Combined with their stability and amenability to manipulation (e.g., Paunesku et al., 2015), mindsets are highly relevant to teacher education and practice.

Outcomes for this Poster

Participants will learn about the educational research behind mindsets. Ideally, they will gain motivation to learn more about mindsets, to implement strategies that foster growth-mindset in their practice, and to recommend the topic to colleagues.


Burnette, J. L., O’Boyle, E. H., VanEpps, E. M., Pollack, J. M., & Finkel, E. J. (2013). Mindsets matter: A meta-analytic review of implicit theories and self-regulation. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 655–701. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029531

De Castella, K., & Byrne, D. (2015). My intelligence may be more malleable than yours: The revised implicit theories of intelligence (self-theory) scale is a better predictor of achievement, motivation, and student disengagement. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 30, 245–267. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10212-015-0244-y

Dinger, F. C., Dickhäuser, O., Spinath, B., & Steinmayr, R. (2013). Antecedents and consequences of students’ achievement goals: A mediation analysis. Learning and Individual Differences, 28, 90–101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.09.005

Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House.

Dweck, C. S. (2010). Even geniuses work hard. Educational Leadership, 68(1), 16–20.

Gunderson, E. A., Gripshover, S. J., Romero, C., Dweck, C. S., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Levine, S. C. (2013). Parent praise to 1- to 3-year-olds predicts children’s motivational frameworks 5 years later. Child Development, 84, 1526–1541. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12064

King, R. B. (2012). How you think about your intelligence influences how adjusted you are: Implicit theories and adjustment outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences, 53, 705–709. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.05.031

Komarraju, M., & Nadler, D. (2013). Self-efficacy and academic achievement: Why do implicit beliefs, goals, and effort regulation matter? Learning and Individual Differences, 25, 67–72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.01.005

Mueller, C. M., & Dweck, C. S. (1998). Praise for intelligence can undermine children’s motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 33–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.75.1.33

Paunesku, D., Walton, G. M., Romero, C., Smith, E. N., Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2015). Mind-set interventions are a scalable treatment for academic underachievement. Psychological Science, 26, 784–793. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797615571017

Rattan, A., Good, C., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). “It’s ok — Not everyone can be good at math”: Instructors with an entity theory comfort (and demotivate) students. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48, 731–737. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.12.012

Romero, C., Master, A., Paunesku, D., Dweck, C. S., & Gross, J. J. (2014). Academic and emotional functioning in middle school: The role of implicit theories. Emotion, 14, 227–234. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0035490

Shim, S. S., Cho, Y., & Cassady, J. (2013). Goal structures: The role of teachers’ achievement goals and theories of intelligence. Journal of Experimental Education, 81, 84–104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2011.635168

Yeager, D. S., Johnson, R., Spitzer, B. J., Trzesniewski, K. H., Powers, J., & Dweck, C. S. (2014). The far-reaching effects of believing people can change: Implicit theories of personality shape stress, health, and achievement during adolescence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 867–884. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0036335

Note: The mindsets poster originally included a triangle with incorrect side lengths. This was corrected on 2016-08-21.

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