Difference between revisions of "Biology is not destiny"

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==Emphasize that biology is not destiny.==
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==Foster a growth mindset in your students.==
  
"Biology is not destiny" refers to the idea that minority and female students are often stuck in the mindset that intelligence is inherent and in turn cannot be expanded. The idea that certain individuals are biologically less capable of contributing to an academic field stems from the dominant group within that field, in other words race and gender in academia, as well as in society, are entities that are constructed. Societal beliefs concerning intelligence is a key variable that often makes underrepresented students feel incompetent in various academic fields. In the case of Economics, since the field predominantly consists of Caucasian males a perception of the field as a whole has been created, which has discouraged underrepresented students from the field.  
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Students can be stuck in the mindset that intelligence is inborn and thus cannot be expanded. Students who identify with groups underrepresented in a particular academic field, such as economics, may get a message that they are less capable of contributing to that field.
  
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==How to foster a growth mindset==
In one finding, when teachers and instructors told female students that their intelligence could grow and expand with learning and experience, the students performed better on math tests and were more optimistic about their futures in the mathematics field. By emphasizing that success in mathematics and beyond is not dependent on factors such as gender (especially in male-dominant fields), professors created an inclusive classroom environment where female students felt more confident about their skills and abilities.  
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[[File:growth.jpg‎|267px|left]]
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'''Communicate''' through your words and actions that:
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<u>Intelligence is malleable.</u>  Burgeoning evidence in cognitive psychology and neuroscience demonstrates the malleability of intelligence and the plasticity of the brain.  See, for instance, Jaeggi, et al. (2008).
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<u>Math ability can be developed</u>. Don't accept a student's statement that she is not a "math person."
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<u>Economic intuition can be acquired</u>. Why else do we teach?
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<u>Academic skills and abilities are acquired through hard work, mistakes, and perseverance</u>.
  
''
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[https://www.aeaweb.org/resources/best-practices/working-with-students#p5 '''Help your students understand and enjoy the learning process'''.]
At Stanford University, Carol Dweck, a social and developmental psychologist, has been conducting research on the idea of motivation for the past 40 years. She argues that there are two kinds of mindsets when it comes to academic motivation. Her studies have demonstrated that "A 'growth mindset' (viewing intelligence as a changeable, malleable attribute that can be developed through effort) as opposed to a 'fixed mindset' (viewing intelligence as an inborn, uncontrollable trait) is likely to lead to greater persistence in the face of adversity and ultimately success in any realm."
 
  
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'''Offer [[wise criticism]].'''
  
Dweck finds that fixed mindsets among junior high and college students attributes to the gender performance gap in math and science, where areas growth mindsets among students results in no sort of gender gap in academic performance. Dweck and her colleges followed several hundred women at a top-tier university in a one semester calculus course and found that growth mindsets also promotes persistence in students. Female students in classrooms where growth mindsets were encouraged, were more likely to continue taking classes in that given field, and were less susceptible to negative gender stereotypes about intelligence.  
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==Evidence of positive effects==
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Researchers have produced (and replicated) significant evidence on the effects of growth mindsets on academic achievement, including in math and science. [http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797617739704?journalCode=pssa&] [http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/03/growth-mindset-replicates.html] As [https://www.stanford.edu/dept/psychology/cgi-bin/drupalm/cdweck Carol Dweck] writes, "Students who believe that intelligence or math and science ability is simply a fixed trait (a fixed mindset) are at a significant disadvantage compared to students who believe that their abilities can be developed (a growth mindset). Moreover, research is showing that these mindsets play an important role in the relative underachievement of women and minorities in math and science...[and that] educators play a key role in shaping students’ mindsets." [http://www.growthmindsetmaths.com/uploads/2/3/7/7/23776169/mindset_and_math_science_achievement_-_nov_2013.pdf]
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[[File:yeager.png|425px|right]]
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Yeager, Walton, and Dweck tested full-scale implementation of a web-based growth mindset intervention in a randomized experiment conducted at a large four-year university in Texas.[https://web.stanford.edu/~gwalton/home/Welcome_files/YeagerPauneskuWaltonDweck%20-%20White%20House%20R%26D%20agenda%20-%205-9-13.pdf]
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A landmark study by '''[http://course1.winona.edu/CFried/documents/stthreat.pdf Aronson, Fried, & Good (2002)]''' found that "encouraging students to see intelligence as malleable (i.e., embrace an incremental theory of intelligence) can raise enjoyment and performance in academic contexts."  In their experiment, college students in the treatment group learned an incremental theory of intelligence and wrote a letter explaining the theory to a low-performing middle school pen pal. "The African American students (and, to some degree, the White students) encouraged to view intelligence as malleable reported greater enjoyment of the academic process, greater academic engagement, and obtained higher grade point averages than their counterparts in two control groups."
  
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Research has also shown that "when teachers believe in fixed intelligence, the students they identify as having high ability are the only ones who tend to achieve well in their classes. '''When teachers hold a growth mindset, a much broader range of students do well.'''" (Rheinberg, 2000, as cited in Dweck, 2008)
  
Faculty in tertiary education should stress to underrepresented students that academic skills and abilities can be acquired through hard work, and that biology does not determine intelligence.
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[https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/2/eaau4734.full STEM faculty who believe ability is fixed have larger racial achievement gaps and inspire less student motivation in their classes]
  
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Recently, economists Miles Kimball and Noah Smith tapped into this same body of research on the malleability of math ability and concluded that "there's one key difference between kids who excel at math and those who don’t" [http://qz.com/139453/theres-one-key-difference-between-kids-who-excel-at-math-and-those-who-dont/ on Quartz].
  
{{hidden|Sources|Dweck, C. (2008). ''Mindsets and math/science achievement.'' New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Institute for Advanced Study, Commission on Mathematics and Science Education ''as cited in'' Hill et al. (2010). "Why so Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics". American Association of University Women.}}
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{{hidden|Sources|Dweck, C. (2008). ''Mindsets and math/science achievement.'' New York: Carnegie Corporation of New York, Institute for Advanced Study, Commission on Mathematics and Science Education ''as cited in'' Hill et al. (2010). "Why so Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics". American Association of University Women.
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Jaeggi, S.M., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J., & Perrig, W.J., Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008.
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Rheinberg, F., Vollmeyer, R., & Rollett, W. (2000). Motivation and action in self- regulated learning. In M. Boekaerts, P. Pintrich & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 503-529). San Diego: Academic Press.}}

Latest revision as of 12:00, 19 May 2020

Foster a growth mindset in your students.

Students can be stuck in the mindset that intelligence is inborn and thus cannot be expanded. Students who identify with groups underrepresented in a particular academic field, such as economics, may get a message that they are less capable of contributing to that field.

How to foster a growth mindset

Growth.jpg

Communicate through your words and actions that:

Intelligence is malleable. Burgeoning evidence in cognitive psychology and neuroscience demonstrates the malleability of intelligence and the plasticity of the brain. See, for instance, Jaeggi, et al. (2008).

Math ability can be developed. Don't accept a student's statement that she is not a "math person."

Economic intuition can be acquired. Why else do we teach?

Academic skills and abilities are acquired through hard work, mistakes, and perseverance.

Help your students understand and enjoy the learning process.

Offer wise criticism.

Evidence of positive effects

Researchers have produced (and replicated) significant evidence on the effects of growth mindsets on academic achievement, including in math and science. [1] [2] As Carol Dweck writes, "Students who believe that intelligence or math and science ability is simply a fixed trait (a fixed mindset) are at a significant disadvantage compared to students who believe that their abilities can be developed (a growth mindset). Moreover, research is showing that these mindsets play an important role in the relative underachievement of women and minorities in math and science...[and that] educators play a key role in shaping students’ mindsets." [3]

Yeager.png

Yeager, Walton, and Dweck tested full-scale implementation of a web-based growth mindset intervention in a randomized experiment conducted at a large four-year university in Texas.[4]

A landmark study by Aronson, Fried, & Good (2002) found that "encouraging students to see intelligence as malleable (i.e., embrace an incremental theory of intelligence) can raise enjoyment and performance in academic contexts." In their experiment, college students in the treatment group learned an incremental theory of intelligence and wrote a letter explaining the theory to a low-performing middle school pen pal. "The African American students (and, to some degree, the White students) encouraged to view intelligence as malleable reported greater enjoyment of the academic process, greater academic engagement, and obtained higher grade point averages than their counterparts in two control groups."

Research has also shown that "when teachers believe in fixed intelligence, the students they identify as having high ability are the only ones who tend to achieve well in their classes. When teachers hold a growth mindset, a much broader range of students do well." (Rheinberg, 2000, as cited in Dweck, 2008)

STEM faculty who believe ability is fixed have larger racial achievement gaps and inspire less student motivation in their classes

Recently, economists Miles Kimball and Noah Smith tapped into this same body of research on the malleability of math ability and concluded that "there's one key difference between kids who excel at math and those who don’t" on Quartz.