The TES is reporting that a leading geneticist has challenged the growth mindset theory warning that it is “greatly overplayed” and could even be harmful to children.
Robert Plomin, professor of behavioural genetics at King’s College London, voiced his concerns in an exclusive interview with TES.
The growth mindset theory, developed by Stanford University-based psychologist Professor Carol Dweck, states that an individual’s learning is shaped by whether they believe their intelligence is fixed or can be changed…
But Professor Plomin says that genetics play a big role in determining how much of a natural appetite and inclination to learn pupils have. Therefore, the assumption that changing their attitude to learning can make a big difference is misplaced, he argues.
“Growth mindset, I feel, is greatly overplayed,” Professor Plomin told TES.
“If you try to tell kids who have trouble learning, ‘You can do it, you can change’, you can actually do some harm. Because some kids are going to find it really difficult; it isn’t just a matter of positive thinking. Kids aren’t stupid. I don’t believe the evidence base is all that strong…”
“That’s not to say you can’t change growth mindset or you can’t give kids more grit,” he said. “You can, and it’s probably not a bad idea at some level. But if you think that’s really what it’s all about, God, it’s just a tiny piece of the action…
“I don’t want to knock it, but what I don’t like is that it’s a silver bullet, a quick fix. ‘Change these kids’ mindsets and they’re all going to go to Oxbridge.’ That’s nuts.”
Read the full interview with Professor Plomin in today’s TESmagazine.
More (including a response from Carol Dweck) at: Growth mindset theory is ‘overplayed’ and could be harmful, geneticist warns
Professor Dweck, in response, seems to suggest Professor Plomin is using an over-simplified version of growth mindset, but what do you think?
Please give us your reactions and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…
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