The Effect of Instructor Mindset on Student Motivation and Self-Efficacy
AbstractDweck’s theory of mindset proposes two different mindsets a person may have: fixed or growth (Dweck, 2007). A person with a fixed mindset believes intelligence is fixed and a person with a growth mindset believes that they can improve their intelligence with effort (Dweck, 2007; Murphy & Dweck, 2016). The present study was designed to examine the effect of an instructors’ apparent mindset on the expectations of success and persistence in STEM disciplines among students. Students were presented with sample syllabi that portrayed an instructor with either a fixed or growth mindset and completed questionnaires and a short, written reflection to measure their perception of mindset, self-efficacy, and motivation. Results of this study revealed that students expected a higher grade, reported more academic self-efficacy, and had a positive perception of the instructor after reading the growth syllabus. Overall, Black students reported more academic self-efficacy than White students and reported more academic self-handicapping after reading the growth syllabus. Students reported that the attributions (gender, minority, status, effort/ hard work, luck, difficulty of the course, intelligence/ ability) contributed more to their grade in the class after reading the growth mindset syllabus than the fixed syllabus, with difficulty of the course and intelligence/ ability significantly contributing to their perceived grade in the class after reading the fixed syllabus. The mindset portrayed by an instructor can have an impact on the student through a decrease in their overall academic performance. Examining the different ways in which a change in the mindset that is portrayed can help to increase student motivation and expectations.
AffiliationDepartment of Psychological Sciences
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