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

Brain & Learning Resources


The Social Neuroscience of Education: Optimizing Attachment and Learning in the Classroom by Louis Cozolino, PhD

“This book explains how the brain, as a social organism, learns best throughout the lifespan, from our early schooling through late life. Positioning the brain as distinctly social, Louis Cozolino helps teachers make connections to neurobiological principles, with the goal of creating classrooms that nurture healthy attachment patterns and resilient psyches.

Cozolino investigates what good teachers do to stimulate minds and brains to learn, especially when they succeed with difficult or “unteachable” students. He explores classroom teaching from the perspectives of social neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology, showing how we can use the findings from these fields to maximize learning and stimulate the brain to grow. The book will have relevance to anyone concerned with twenty-first century learners and the social and emotional development of children.”

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

“In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling book Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson demystify the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids can seem-and feel-so out of control. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.”

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of The Teenage Brain by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

“Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain changes in important, and oftentimes maddening, ways. It’s no wonder that many parents approach their child’s adolescence with fear and trepidation. According to renowned neuropsychiatrist Daniel Siegel, however, if parents and teens can work together to form a deeper understanding of the brain science behind all the tumult, they will be able to turn conflict into connection and form a deeper understanding of one another.

In Brainstorm, Siegel illuminates how brain development impacts teenagers’ behavior and relationships. Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology, he explores exciting ways in which understanding how the teenage brain functions can help parents make what is in fact an incredibly positive period of growth, change, and experimentation in their children’s lives less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.”

The Developing Mind, 2nd Edition: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

“This bestselling book put the field of interpersonal neurobiology on the map for many tens of thousands of readers. Daniel J. Siegel goes beyond the nature and nurture divisions that traditionally have constrained much of our thinking about development, exploring the role of interpersonal experiences in forging key connections in the brain. He presents a groundbreaking integrative framework for understanding the emergence of the growing, feeling, communicating mind.

Illuminating how and why interpersonal neurobiology matters, this book is essential reading for clinicians, educators, researchers, and students interested in promoting healthy development and resilience. It has been widely adopted as a text in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in developmental psychology, child development, and clinical practice.

Making Classrooms Better: 50 Practical Applications of Mind, Brain, and Education Science by Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

“Learning specialist Leslie Hart once wrote that designing educational experiences without knowledge of the brain is like designing a glove without knowledge of the hand. Making Classrooms Better takes this concept a step further, building from general knowledge of brain-based education science and current educational research to offer specific suggestions for how teachers can improve student learning outcomes. Covering a range of subjects, from creating an optimal classroom climate to maximizing metacognitive skill development, this well-researched, state-of-the-art guide is an essential resource for highly effective practices that teachers, administrators, and curriculum planners can easily use.”

How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker

“In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world’s leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life. This new edition of Pinker’s bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.”

Neurodevelopmental Disorders: A Definitive Guide for Educators by Frank E. Vargo

Developmental deficits in learning and communication in young children are defined as neurodevelopmental disorders. This constellation, newly defined in the DSM-5, represents a range of issues that educators must address. Outlining the learning disorders from a teacher’s perspective, this book offers a practical understanding for educators.


“Nine Things Educators Need to Know About the Brain”

In an excerpt from his new book, psychologist and professor Louis Cozolino applies the lessons of social neuroscience to the classroom.


Immordino-Yang, M.H., & Damasio, A.R. (2007). We Feel, Therefore We Learn: The Relevance of Affective and Social Neuroscience to Education. Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(1), 3-10.


Grit Resources


Building Emotional Intelligence: Techniques to Cultivate Inner Strength in Children by Linda Lantieri & Daniel Goleman

“An innovative educator and the pioneer of emotional intelligence team up to present a groundbreaking program for building resilience and inner strength in children.”

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

“The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do and do not prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty.”

Fostering Grit: How do I prepare my students for the real world? by Thomas R. Hoerr

“Grit is a combination of tenacity and perseverance—a willingness to take risks even if it means sometimes failing and starting again. Knowing how to respond to frustration and failure is essential whether a student struggles or excels. Veteran school leader and popular Educational Leadership columnist Thomas R. Hoerr shows what teaching for grit looks like and provides a sample lesson plan and self-assessments, along with a six-step process applicable across grade levels and content areas to help students build skills they need to succeed in school and in life.”


“Resilience and Grit: Resource Roundup”

Edutopia’s carefully curated collection of blogs, articles, interviews, and videos with information for parents and educators about the associated concepts of resilience and grit.

“Teaching Grit: Social and Emotional Truth”

“Close examination of both the construct of grit and research reveals that teaching grit requires more than we may think. Grit involves the interplay of thoughts and emotions, demanding a wellspring of inner resources to overcome the inevitable obstacles that arise when going full-force after a goal. Thus, teachers who want their students to be more “gritty” need to be aware of those students’ inner lives as well as the outer steps being taken to reach their dreams.”

“5 Steps to Foster Grit in the Classroom”

“The character traits of determination, adaptability and reflection add up to a critical 21st century skill.”

“True Grit: The Best Measure of Success and How to Teach It”

A Three Part Series on Grit and Resilience from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center

“How to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Failure” –

“What’s Wrong With Grit?” –

“Two Ways to Foster Grit” –

“According to the research on failure, students may need more than just grit to succeed. To help students learn to overcome obstacles in pursuit of long-term goals, educators should focus on developing cognitive and emotional skills.”


Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). “Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals”. Personality Processes and Individual Differences, 92 (6), p. 1087.


Angela Duckworth’s Video Series on Grit

“What is grit?” –

“Are there virtues that are precursors or closely associated with grit?” –

“What role does humility play, if any, in cultivating grit?” –

“How has your personal story been a window into your research on grit?” –

“What advice would you give to parents who wanted to cultivate grit in their children?” –

“What is psychological distancing and how does it relate to self control?” –

Growth Mindset Resources


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

“With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals–personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.”

Ungifted — Intelligence Redefined: The Truth About Talent, Practice, Creativity, and the Many Paths to Greatness by Scott Barry Kaufman (2013)

The chapters on Mindset, Self-Regulation, Deliberate Practice, and Talent are particularly relevant. The book is an accessible and informative read that consolidates the latest research. Recommended to all people starting out their research on grit and growth mindsets.

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn

“The basic strategy we use for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summarized in six words: Do this and you’ll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in much the same way we train the family pet. Drawing on a wealth of psychological research, Alfie Kohn points the way to a more successful strategy based on working with people instead of doing things to them. “Do rewards motivate people?” asks Kohn. “Yes. They motivate people to get rewards.” Seasoned with humor and familiar examples, Punished By Rewards presents an argument unsettling to hear but impossible to dismiss.”


Mindset Online

An online compendium of resources, research, and teaching tools about mindsets, located in one accessible website.

“Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives”

“How to fine-tune the internal monologue that scores every aspect of our lives, from leadership to learning to love.”

“Helping Students Start the Year With a Positive Mindset”

“For students who have had trouble in school, or who have had a negative summer, it is especially important to get the school year off to a fresh start. And for all students, having a positive mindset makes learning much more likely. Here are three activities to help accomplish these goals.”

“Stanford University’s Carol Dweck on the Growth Mindset and Education”

“Making Friends With Failure”

“There is a major disconnect between schools and the real world on the notion of failure. School teaches us there is only one answer for every problem. And if we don’t get it, we are a failure. This dissuades students from trying — they fear failure. We need to teach students how to make friends with failure.”

“What’s Your Learning Disposition? How to Foster Students’ Mindsets”

“Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindsets has dominated much of the attention around how students can influence their own learning. But there are other ways to help students tap into their own motivation, too. Here are a few other important mindsets to consider.”

“New Research: Students benefit from learning that intelligence is not fixed”

“Teaching students that intelligence can grow and blossom with effort – rather than being a fixed trait they’re just born with – is gaining traction in progressive education circles. And new research from Stanford is helping to build the case that nurturing a growth mindset can help many kids understand their true potential.”

“Can Self-Compassion Overcome Procrastination?”

“Putting something off can trigger a downward negative spiral of fixed-minded habits. But a recent study suggests that being kind to yourself can help you achieve your goals.”

“How to Overcome an Immunity to Change”

Two prominent Harvard teachers and researchers share a step-by-step plan that can help individuals break through old patterns, fixed mindsets, and finally make the shifts that matter.


Mindset Online

An online compendium of resources, research, and teaching tools about mindsets, located in one accessible website.


“Carol Dweck: A Study on Praise and Mindsets” [Youtube Video]

A short but super informative and engaging video about Carol Dweck’s seminal research study on praise, motivation, and mindsets.

“Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability”

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

“Brene Brown: Listening to Shame”

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken and fixed-minded behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

Mindfulness Resources


The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

“Leading neurobiologist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., presents a new framework for maintaining mental health and well-being. Three human experiences have been documented as promoting well-being: secure attachment, mindfulness meditation, and effective psychotherapy.  Siegel’s unifying theory shows that the effects of these three experiences have a similar neural mechanism. Siegel uses theory, science, and anecdote to reveal how to transform the brain as well as promote well-being.”

The Invisible Classroom: Relationships, Neuroscience & Mindfulness in School by Kirke Olson

“How is expanding students’ strengths more effective than improving their weaknesses? Why is creating a school where staff and students feel safe necessary for learning? How can anchoring with simple mindfulness practices prevent classroom behavioral problems?

There is more to a classroom than just a teacher and a group of students. All classroom interactions have “invisible” neurobiological, emotional, and social aspects—the emotional histories of students, the teacher’s own background and biography. In this book, Kirke Olson takes lessons from brain science, mindfulness, and positive psychology to help teachers understand the full range of their students’ school experiences. Using its classroom-ready resources, teachers, administrators, parents, and policy makers can make the invisible visible, turning human investment in their students into the best possible learning outcomes.”

Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom by Patricia A. Jennings

“This book shows teachers how to use the evidence-proven technique of mindfulness to manage the stressful demands of the classroom, cultivate an exceptional school environment, and revitalize their teaching and their students’ learning.  Drawing on basic and applied research in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and education, as well as the author’s extensive experience as a mindfulness practitioner, teacher, teacher educator, and scientist, it provides exercises in relaxation, movement, deep listening, and more, all with real-time classroom applications.”

UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center’s “Must Read” Books on Mindfulness

Excellent and carefully curated library of mindfulness-related books and links to where to find and/or buy them.


UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center’s Resources on Mindfulness

Has resources conveniently organized into other categories like: gratitude, compassion, empathy, altruism, happiness, forgiveness

Also organizes resources by population (i.e. family and couples, education, workplace, mind & body medicine)


Garrison Institute’s Database of Peer-Reviewed Research Articles on Mindfulness in Education

GI also has a bibliography and resources page on their website


“Time In: Reflection, Relationships, and Resilience at the Heart of Internal Education” by Daniel J. Siegel (Lecture Video from the Garrison Institute’s Contemplative Education Symposium)

“Dan Harris: Hack Your Brain’s Default Mode with Meditation”

Dan Harris explains the neuroscience behind meditation, but reminds us that the ancient practice isn’t magic and likely won’t send one floating into the cosmic ooze. He predicts that the exercise will soon become regularly scheduled maintenance, as commonplace as brushing your teeth or eating your veggies.

“Jon Kabat-Zinn Defines Mindfulness”

Clinical mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn gives an operational definition of mindfulness.

“Jon Kabat-Zinn: Listening is an Act of Love”

Bestselling author and researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn explores how mindfulness-based stress reduction can help you to go beyond the self, to identify and alleviate suffering in others.