The Mindful PhD: How It Works, IV
There are few silver bullets in teaching and learning, but a handful of strategies are so grounded in evidence that I sometimes feel like shouting from rooftops. One is metacognition.* Another is how students view their own intelligence. Carol Dweck describes it as having either a “fixed mindset” (believing that intelligence is “inborn,” unchangeable) or “growth mindset” (believing that intelligence can be developed, increased), each of which “leads to different school behaviors” (2010, p. 16). These mindsets are related to the equally compelling notion of “locus of control” (Fazey & Fazey, 2001), or what we believe about control in our life events. A student with an internal locus of control believes that she has control over what happens in her life, whereas one with an external locus of control believes that external factors are in control, and he is powerless. These mindsets also lead to different learning behaviors (“If I work hard, I can do it!” vs. “I just can’t do math because it’s too hard, so it’s not worth it to try” or “I failed the test because it was unfair, not because of how I studied.”). All three of these ideas–metacognition, fixed vs. growth mindset, internal vs. external locus of control–come to mind when I read about the final mindfulness “mechanism” described in Hölzel and colleagues’ meta-analysis of the scientific research: a “change in perspective of the self” (2011, p. 547-550). More….