Agreeing is Not the Same as Accepting: Exploring Pre-Service Teachers’ Growth Mindsets
The popularity of mindset theory has resulted in a surge of mindset interventions in schools. However, with increased popularity, there is the potential for misunderstandings and hesitations about what a growth mindset fully entails. Therefore, we sought to disentangle which components of growth mindset messages pre-service teachers find hard to accept alongside their level of agreement with growth mindset questionnaire items. We used a descriptive design with both quantitative and qualitative data to explore 182 pre-service teachers’ responses to growth mindset messages. The results of this study suggest that pre-service teachers hold a growth mindset. However, despite strong quantitative endorsements, in the qualitative analyses we determined three ways in which participants found a growth mindset hard to accept: (1) the notion of mindset theory itself, (2) the level of growth, (3) and the necessary actions behind having a growth mindset. The findings of this study suggest we need to pay close attention to false growth mindsets in theory and practice.
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