At the Raikes Foundation we believe that helping students develop learning mindsets—including growth mindset, such as the belief that intelligence grows with effort —is a powerful way to increase motivation and encourage students to embrace educational challenges that will help them improve. But does it work in online learning?
Often when people talk about innovating in the education sector, they focus on ideas or solutions they want to import into classrooms. But what if the most effective innovations are already there? What if the people who work day-to-day with students—teachers and administrators—are the ones designing, testing and sharing innovative practices? How can we tap their wealth of knowledge to transform learning as it happens?These questions are at the heart of a promising new approach to identifying and scaling education innovations known as “improvement science.”
Originally pioneered by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in the 1980s and 1990s, improvement science is an approach to change that empowers practitioners to identify their most pressing problems, test improvements and iterate on solutions in a focused—but highly sharable—way. As articulated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, improvement science has six core tenets:
How Children Succeed, Paul Tough’s influential 2012 book, got people thinking about what we can do to help every child be successful, not only in school but in the face of life’s many challenges. Tough’s argument that much of student success is driven by non-cognitive factors such as learning mindsets resonates with us and is borne out by the evidence.
Tough and others recently revisited these themes in “Rethinking How Students Succeed,” a Stanford Social Innovation Review article that discusses findings from a convening last fall hosted by the Bridgespan Group. The meeting, which I attended, was convened to study the practice implications of learning mindsets, social-emotional learning, and broader notions of non-cognitive skills and dispositions.