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When students and educators have a growth mindset, they understand that intelligence can be developed. Students focus on improvement instead of worrying about how smart they are. They work hard to learn more and get smarter. Based on years of research by Stanford University’s Dr. Dweck, Lisa Blackwell Ph.D., and their colleagues, we know that students who learn this mindset show greatermotivation in schoolbetter grades, and higher test scores.

Click here for more resources on Growth Mindsets.

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We engage in metacognitive activities everyday. Metacognition enables us to be successful learners, and has been associated with intelligence (e.g., Borkowski, Carr, & Pressley, 1987; Sternberg, 1984, 1986a, 1986b). Metacognition refers to higher order thinking which involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Activities such as planning how to approach a given learning task, monitoring comprehension, and evaluating progress toward the completion of a task are metacognitive in nature. Because metacognition plays a critical role in successful learning, it is important to study metacognitive activity and development to determine how students can be taught to better apply their cognitive resources through metacognitive control.

 For more on Metacognition read here. 

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When psychologist Angela Duckworth studied people in various challenging situations, including National Spelling Bee participants, rookie teachers in tough neighborhoods, and West Point cadets, she found:

One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.

Why is Grit So Important?

Using the “Grit Scale” that Duckworth developed with Chris Peterson, they found that grit is a better indicator of GPA and graduation rates. (IQ, however, is very predictive of standardized test scores.)

Add to this the findings (from Bowen, Chingos and McPherson’s Crossing the Finish Line) that high school grades have a more predictive value of college success than standardized tests, and you may just see a shift from standardized test scores to high school GPA by some college admissions officers. As GPA becomes more important, grit will become more recognized as a vital part of 21st century student success — as well it should be.

What is Grit?

Some would argue that grit is inherent in Albert Bandura’s research on self-efficacy, and that resilience is also part of it. But you can’t just implement “character education” and think you’re teaching grit. In 2008, the Character Education Partnership divided character into two categories: core ethical values and performance values. In my opinion, grit would be categorized as a performance value.


Click here for more resources on Grit and Resilience.

Resources List for Research Topics on Growth Mindset/Grit Resilience/Meta Cognition

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The 50 great books on education

Research and development network themes from NCTL

The network agreed 3 national themes for their research activities in autumn 2011. Teaching school alliances have agreed and pursued their own particular focus within a theme. They work with a national research team alongside their own university partner. They are also aligning with and contributing to the work of other alliances under the same theme.

Theme 1: What makes great pedagogy?

The literature review What makes great pedagogy? Nine claims from researchexplores this theme. Areas of particular interest are:

  • aspiration and pupil motivation
  • student voice
  • engagement for learning
  • pupil improvement partners
  • teaching strategies to close gaps
  • meta-cognition
  • dialogic teaching

Theme 2: What makes great professional development which leads to consistently great pedagogy?

Great professional development which leads to great pedagogy: nine claims from research explores this theme. It looks at:

  • how the system can ensure there is reciprocal learning in teacher-to-teacher support
  • how we can build capacity for joint practice development (JPD) within and between schools?

Theme 3: How can leaders lead successful teaching school alliances which enable the development of consistently great pedagogy?

Leadership of great pedagogy in teaching school alliances: evidence from the literature centred around this theme. It concentrates on:

  • exploring the leadership needed to bring about sustaining great teaching and great professional development
  • minimising variation across an alliance of schools

We will publish the final reports in February 2015.