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Table of Contents
FACULTY DEVELOPMENT
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 80-83

Promoting growth mindset in occupational therapy education


Department of Occupational Therapy, Huntington University, Peoria, Arizona, United States

Date of Submission27-May-2022
Date of Acceptance16-Jun-2022
Date of Web Publication09-Sep-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Chelsey Edwards
Department of Occupational Therapy, Huntington University, Peoria, Arizona
United States
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/EHP.EHP_12_22

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  Abstract 

Occupational therapy education has seen an increase in rigor and scholarly expectations throughout the years as many programs transition to the doctoral level. Because of this, students continue to struggle with a fixed mindset of their perceived academic abilities. Increasing growth mindset in graduate occupational therapy students is described and further discussed in this article in order to facilitate the development of academically and emotionally prepared occupational therapy practitioners. Growth mindset examples are further described in congruence with the literature on student self-reports of what impacts their perceived ability of intelligence.

Keywords: Education, growth mindset, occupational therapy


How to cite this article:
Edwards C. Promoting growth mindset in occupational therapy education. Educ Health Prof 2022;5:80-3

How to cite this URL:
Edwards C. Promoting growth mindset in occupational therapy education. Educ Health Prof [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Sep 28];5:80-3. Available from: https://www.ehpjournal.com/text.asp?2022/5/2/80/355835




  Introduction Top


The concept of growth mindset has been around for over a decade; however, it has been gaining popularity in the mainstream research in the past few years. Increased interest in the concept of growth mindset has made waves in the academic community, at the primary, secondary, and postsecondary education levels. Educational institutions have launched initiatives and training that encourage teachers and students to have a flexible growth mindset, but a little research has been effective in showing how to successfully cultivate a growth mindset in a fixed academic setting. Elementary-level students are learning more about growth mindset than those in the past; however, the young to middle-aged adult occupational therapy students who are coming into graduate-level programs were often raised with the ideas of a fixed mindset of their academic abilities.

Students are often shocked by the pressures of intense and rigorous graduate-level expectations, especially in the occupational therapy education. According to Dweck (2006),[1] mindset can be categorized by the prevalence in three ways: growth mindset (40% of the population), fixed mindset (40% of the population), and mixed mindset (20% of the population). When considering the pressures these students face, in conjunction with the prevalence of both fixed and mixed mindsets, it is no surprise that students in graduate programs often feel vanquished.


  What Is Growth Mindset? Top


Psychologist and scholar, Dr. Carol Dweck first coined the concept of “growth mindset” as a result of her decades’ worth of research, which was then popularized in her book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” Growth mindset is defined as a “mindset” in which the individual believes that their abilities can be continuously developed.[1] A growth mindset is in direct contrast to a “fixed” mindset, one in which the individual believes their abilities are static.

Students who place value on effort often demonstrate a growth mindset[2]; however, Dweck (2016)[3] cautions about praising effort without outcomes as unproductive effort becomes meaningless. It is valuable to praise the effort, but it is more significant to praise the learning and progress while placing higher importance on the processes in which the learning and progress was obtained.[3] Dweck (2008)[4] states, “in my research in collaboration with my graduate students, we have shown that what students believe about their brains—whether they see their intelligence as something that’s fixed or something that can grow and change—has profound effects on their motivation, learning, and school achievement.” Growth mindset then is not about being naturally intelligent, it is about accepting challenges, learning from mistakes, and persevering in the face of obstacles in order to grow and obtain further understanding.


  Why Is Growth Mindset Important? Top


Research has shown that having a growth mindset makes a difference when it comes to academic achievements at all levels. The link between the growth mindset and motivation for academic success has been well reported in the literature.[5],[6] Research has shown that those who demonstrate a fixed mindset are often more concerned with looking intelligent that they often avoid difficult learning experiences for the fear of looking foolish.[7] In congruence, students who presented with fixed mindsets were more focused on unhealthy competition with peers, proving their competence, and were noted to avoid making mistakes.[8]

Additional research has shown the benefit of having a growth mindset at both the primary/secondary and higher education levels. At the primary/secondary level, Andersen and Neilsen (2016)[9] discovered that children whose parents presented with fixed mindsets had lower reading scores than those whose parents promoted a growth mindset, even after controlling for socioeconomic status. At the higher education level, Cavanagh et al. (2018)[10] discovered that a combination of trust in the instructor and a growth mindset was positively correlated with a commitment to active learning in college-level coursework. This information indicates that having a growth mindset is important at all levels of education as students who perform under a fixed mindset are at an increased risk for maladaptive and counterproductive learning patterns.[11] These poor learning patterns can then further complicate the success of graduate-level occupational therapy students as they navigate the increased rigor and scholastic demands of the learning process, leading to poor performance, lower self-esteem, decreased confidence, and poor retention.

Another argument for promoting a growth mindset is that the concept is valid across varying socioeconomic levels. Claro et al. (2016)[12] found that students who came from a lower-income family were less likely to demonstrate a growth mindset mentality; however, those that did were actually significantly less likely to succumb to the detrimental effects of poverty in regard to academic accomplishments. As graduate students come from all socioeconomic status levels, these results are promising as they provide insight into ways to address the impact of poverty on the educational achievement. As the profession of occupational therapy attempts to diversify their student body and work force, this concept becomes even more important in today’s society. Poverty has long been a barrier to graduate-level education[13] and cultivating a growth mindset approach to education has the potential to address the impact of poverty in higher education.


  Can Growth Mindset Be Improved? Top


Despite a plethora of research on the importance of growth mindset in educational settings, there is still a disconnect in how one can either shift toward a growth mindset or improve their mindset skills. Studies done on the growth mindset have reported positive outcomes when it came to student engagement and outcomes when enrolled in the growth mindset workshops.[14],[15] Additional research has shown that the growth mindset can be improved through a variety of educational interventions. O’Rourke et al. (2014)[16] found that by using a motivation system, they were able to facilitate a growth mindset through incentivizing effort, strategy, and progress. In congruence, Rege et al. (2020)[17] describes the importance of going beyond giving grades and rewarding challenge-seeking behaviors instead, thus increasing a growth mindset.


  Application to Occupational Therapy Education Top


When looking at this from an occupational therapy student lens, the improvement of growth mindset skills is imperative. Dweck (2009)[18] reports that individuals that foster a growth mindset have a better attitude toward practice and learning, are able to accept constructive criticism, and deal with setbacks, all of which help increase performance. Within occupational therapy education, the ability to learn and practice with a positive attitude and accept constructive criticism while dealing with setbacks will help students’ tenacity with coursework, fieldwork, and graduate-level projects. It is the goal of educators to help assist students on increasing and improving their growth mindset.

Continued research is needed in regard to the growth mindset and occupational therapy education. Students who are able to view their intelligence as malleable versus fixed will undoubtedly have more enriching experiences throughout graduate-level training. When encouraging a growth mindset perspective, students are able to develop a growth-oriented approach to learning and begin to see the classroom experiences as beneficial to their development.[19] In addition, Limeri et al. (2020)[20] report that students tend to shift toward a fixed mindset in higher-level education. This was reportedly even more pronounced for students who demonstrated persistent difficulty in a course. Because fixed mindsets become even more pronounced with an increased difficulty, it is imperative that occupational therapy educators work with their students on increasing the growth mindset.

Zeeb et al. (2020)[21] further investigated the effects of mindset intervention and its impact on student performance in the secondary education. They reported on the importance of teachers creating a classroom culture that is supportive of growth mindset ideals. Additionally, they were able to determine a positive and stable effect on growth mindset improvements 6 months postintervention, which adds to the argument that the growth mindset can be improved and should be a targeted intervention for academics.

When creating classroom environments that are congruent with a growth mindset approach, Zeeb et al. (2020)[21] recommend that activities are supportive of volition, focus on student self-beliefs, and are implemented in conjunction with an educational training in mindset. The goal is that the growth mindset instruction will persist with the instructor after the training and translate into their teaching. In occupational therapy education, these opportunities exist when considering the five factors that Limeri et al. (2020)[20] described as student reports of what attributes to their views of intelligence: academic experiences, observing peers, deducing logically, taking societal cues, and formal learning.


  Cultivating Growth Mindset Top


[Table 1] describes activities that occupational therapy educators can utilize to facilitate a growth mindset environment through the principles outlined in Limeri et al. (2020).[20]
Table 1: Activities to promote growth mindset in occupational therapy education

Click here to view



  Policy Top


In addition to utilizing teaching and learning strategies that facilitate a growth mindset approach to learning, it should also be considered a priority at the administrative level. Implementing policies that cultivate a growth mindset in graduate students can ultimately impact admission rates, student well-being, and retention. Factors that contribute to increased rivalry, such as class rankings, traditional letter grading systems, and the competition for preferred spots or appointments create environments in which students become distracted, frustrated, and further solidify a fixed mindset of academic abilities when the results of such competition are unfavorable.

Administration should consider implementing policy that cultivates the growth mindset in classroom settings. Strategies could include a transition to pass/fail grading, random assignment of clinical spots and/or clinical opportunities, and decreasing out of class assignments. By increasing opportunities for active, hands-on learning, and decreasing stressful and unnecessary homework assignments that encourage class rankings and solitary work, administration is able to cultivate the growth mindset.


  Conclusion Top


The growth mindset has made significant gains in terms of scholarship since its origins. Despite this, research is still needed to determine which types of activities and interventions are most successful for increasing and/or transitioning toward a growth mindset. Occupational therapy and other healthcare professions have to maintain a high level of rigor, so caution should be heeded to not decrease the academic growth of future healthcare professionals. Some amounts of competition can be healthy, but it should not be the only focus of an academic program. Healthcare educators need to consider better ways to go about these competencies in a way that empowers students’ ongoing personal and professional growth and helps cultivate a growth mindset.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Dweck C Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Reprint ed. New York: Ballantine Books; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Hochanadel A, Finamore D Fixed and growth mindset in education and how grit helps students persist in the face of adversity. J Int Educ Res 2015;11:47-50.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Dweck C What having a “growth mindset” actually means. Harv Bus Rev 2016;13:213-26.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Dweck CS Brainology. National Association of Independent Schools; 2008. Available from: https://www.nais.org/magazine/independent-school/winter-2008/brainology/. [Last accessed on 2022 Jun 10].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Grant H, Dweck CS Clarifying achievement goals and their impact. J Pers Soc Psychol 2003;85:541-53.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Dweck C Mindsets and Math/Science Achievement (Prepared for the Carnegie Corporation of New York—Institute for Advanced Study Commission on Mathematics and Science Education). New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York; 2008. Available from: http://www.growthmindsetmaths.com/uploads/2/3/7/7/23776169/mindset_and_math_science_achievement_-_nov_2013.pdf. [Last accessed on 2022 Jun 10]..  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Mangels JA, Butterfield B, Lamb J, Good CD, Dweck CS Why do beliefs about intelligence influence learning success? A social-cognitive-neuroscience model. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2006;1:75-86.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Burnette JL, O’Boyle EH, VanEpps EM, Pollack JM, Finkel EJ Mind-sets matter: A meta-analytic review of implicit theories and self-regulation. Psychol Bull 2013;139:655-701.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Andersen SC, Nielsen HS Reading intervention with a growth mindset approach improves children’s skills. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016;113:12111-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Cavanagh AJ, Chen X, Bathgate M, Frederick J, Hanauer DI, Graham MJ Trust, growth mindset, and student commitment to active learning in a college science course. CBE Life Sci Educ 2018;17:1-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Esparza J, Shumow L, Schmidt JA Growth mindset of gifted seventh grade students in science. NCSSSMST J 2014;19:6-13.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Claro S, Paunesku D, Dweck CS Growth mindset tempers the effects of poverty on academic achievement. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2016;113:8664-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
McKenzie K The effects of poverty on academic achievement. BU J Grad Stud Educ 2019;11:21-6.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Burnette JL, Russell MV, Hoyt CL, Orvidas K, Widman L An online growth mindset intervention in a sample of rural adolescent girls. Br J Educ Psychol 2018;88:428-45.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Burnette JL, Pollack JM, Forsyth RB, Hoyt CL, Babij AD, Thomas FN, et al. A growth mindset intervention: Enhancing students’ entrepreneurial self-efficacy and career development. Entrep Theory Prac 2020;44:878-908.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
O’Rourke E, Haimovitz K, Ballweber C, Dweck C, Popovic´ Z Brain points: A growth mindset incentive structure boosts persistence in an educational game. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, Toronto, CA; 2014. p. 3339-48.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Rege M, Hanselman P, Solli IF, Dweck CS, Ludvigsen S, Bettinger E, et al. How can we inspire nations of learners? An investigation of growth mindset and challenge-seeking in two countries. Am Psychol 2020;76:755-67.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Dweck CS Mindsets: Developing talent through a growth mindset. Olympic Coach 2009;21:4-7.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Dweck CS Motivational processes affecting learning. Am Psychol 1986;41:1040.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Limeri LB, Carter NT, Choe J, Harper HG, Martin HR, Benton A, et al. Growing a growth mindset: Characterizing how and why undergraduate students’ mindsets change. Int J STEM Educ 2020;7:1-19.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Zeeb H, Ostertag J, Renkl A Towards a growth mindset culture in the classroom: Implementation of a lesson-integrated mindset training. Educ Res Int 2020;2020:1-13.  Back to cited text no. 21
    



 
 
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  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
What Is Growth M...
Why Is Growth Mi...
Can Growth Minds...
Application to O...
Cultivating Grow...
Policy
Conclusion
References
Article Tables

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