Growth Mindset, proven a myth of meritocracy?

I was introduced to Dr. Carol Dweck's book as a required text before I started an Urban Education Fellowship with a charter school in the New England Area. I read what was necessary and tied its practices--as best I could-- into my teaching style. I am already a supportive educator who maintains high expectations of all students, so messaging that hard work/trial and error could help with achievement was not difficult or transformative.

Three years later, I picked up the entire book to reread for my own inspirational pursuits. I was having a hard time letting go of some limiting beliefs. The book gave me the normal self- help flutters. The temporary feelings of "knowing better" but learning no substantive action. Just hope. A whole lot of it.

In a recent article published by EdSurge, Jennifer Abrams finds that 'growth mindset' has done little to move the needle on academic gains and achievement. She claims publication bias and media influence impacted the hype and support of this learning strategy. Her final claim is there are no thorough studies on  this mindset, just a few white papers that were heavily cited over and over garnering support from all stakeholders of our educational system. 

Overall, it seems that growth mindset is a new shiny subset of meritocracy. Intelligence and belief systems play a paramount part in students academic performance, however those two factors are impacted by more than just teaching and learning strategies. While growth mindset may offer some relatable self- help-esque skill set for children, its hype overrode the reality that poverty, education, and socio-political systems in America negate meritocracy and all of its offsets as a sole viable catalyst to high academic achievement and a higher trajectory for our most neediest students.  

Jessica SimoneComment