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Response to Backseat Driver (Original post)

Tue Nov 19, 2019, 11:42 PM

1. Mindset isn't a neutral thing.

The claims for it are hyper idealistic because if they're not it means that the educators are classist/racist/etc. It's a kind of virtue signaling with condemnation of others. If we just believed ...

But "growth mindset" does help some kids, primarily those who are convinced that they're destined to fail and therefore don't try. Those kids are very often disadvantaged in terms of home life--family structure, abuse, poverty, constant changing of residence, etc. It's basically saying that if you think you'll fail you probably will, it's a really easy prediction to bring to pass. But if you don't think you'll fail and so you try, then you'll very often succeed to some extent. Most kids, esp. middle class and above, don't think they'll fail, while some think they'll succeed, and the two mindsets are fairly often fluid and switch between mere uncertainty and confidence; the difference between these two groups hasn't been obvious in the research I've seen.

But the downer kids, they do have a small benefit because it provides grounds for motivational strategies to work. The question is why the effect is small. Is it because their expectations are false and they're really ill-prepared to succeed for some reason that they carry with them? Is it because they don't really adopt the "growth mindset"? Is it because circumstances around them still keep them from succeeding, either patronizing and racist teachers or just crappy home life?

Dunno. But education's full of fleeting ideologies, even as NAEP scores rise but slightly at best in spite of the vast effort expended and blame dispersed.

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