education overview

While we all learn in different ways, research and experience in all kinds of classrooms have shown that learning mindsets and skills can help all kinds of students unlock their potential to succeed in any subject, at any age. When students have learning mindsets and skills, they are motivated to learn and know how to learn. 

Students have learning mindsets when they know that intelligence grows with mental effort, understand that struggling with new challenges is a normal part of the learning process, can relate lessons to their own lives and believe that they belong and can succeed in the classroom.

 

strategy

Studies show what many educators know from experience:  Helping students develop learning mindsets and skills creates more vibrant learning environments, where students actively participate, work through problems, think critically and approach learning with energy and enthusiasm.  Together with teachers, parents and leading researchers, we’re working to develop an evidence-based toolkit of practical resources that can help students develop learning mindsets and skills.  Ultimately we hope that useful tools can be available to every school and teacher so all students have the keys they need to unlock their full potential.

Our strategy has four core components:

 

UNDERSTANDING WHAT WORKS

Compelling evidence already exists about the connection between learning mindsets and skills and improved student outcomes. But more research is needed to deepen our understanding of the cause and effect, and to identify the best methods educators can use to teach learning mindsets and skills. To gain and share this understanding, we are investing in:

  • Creating an interdisciplinary network of leading academics who are shaping and pursuing a research agenda to expand understanding of the basic science underlying learning mindsets and skills
  • Building a practice-based network that is adapting the most promising strategies to everyday classroom scenarios, helping teachers develop their students’ mindsets and skills
  • Developing measurement tools and techniques to track the development of learning mindsets and skills

 

CREATING AND SHARING SOLUTIONS

We want to ensure that the lessons learned from our research investments are translated into practical resources that teachers and schools can easily integrate into their classrooms. To do that, we are:

  • Supporting collaborative projects with teachers, school administrators and other educators to co-create simple but effective tools teachers can use to promote learning mindsets and skills
  • Partnering with professional development providers to adapt knowledge about learning mindsets and skills into resources for teachers
  • Supporting the further development and distribution of existing curricula to develop learning mindsets and skills in classroom, school and district settings

 

BUILDING THE FIELD

Interest in learning mindsets and skills has soared in recent years, thanks to growing evidence of their importance. But this growing awareness in the field of learning mindsets and skills needs a robust infrastructure to ensure a lasting impact on the education system. This inspires our work in:

  • Building networks of educators and researchers to share knowledge and raise awareness of best practices to help students develop learning mindsets and  skills
  • Convening researchers, educators, policymakers and other stakeholders to assess the importance of learning mindsets and skills and consider their role in education

 

CULTIVATING AWARENESS AND ENTHUSIASM

Learning mindsets and skills are a priority for the Raikes Foundation because we believe deeply in their ability to help students achieve better outcomes. We want others to share our enthusiasm and help us maximize students’ motivation and engagement, so we are:

  • Creating classroom resources and online tools to help teachers, parents and others learn why learning mindsets and skills are so important, and how they can help students succeed
  • Collaborating with our grantees and partners to develop common language and definitions about learning mindsets and skills so that we’re speaking with one voice
  • Providing grants to help education journalists and thought leaders dig into the science and advance their understanding of learning mindsets and skills

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progress

We are in the earliest phases of our work to promote learning mindsets and skills. The field itself is still coalescing and evolving. Nonetheless, we are gratified to see the progress that we and our partners have made in the past few years – from pioneering research validating the impact of learning mindsets and skills on academic outcomes, to new tools and techniques to develop them in classrooms and online learning environments –  and we look forward to seeing the results of the investments we’re making today.

 

Leading researchers are aligning and providing new insights

  • We provided a multi-year grant to the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences to support the Mindset Scholars Network, an interdisciplinary research network led by David Yeager that is working to prioritize, align and accelerate basic research on mindsets.
  • We provided a multi-year grant to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to launch a networked improvement community. This community is rapidly developing and testing everyday teacher practices to promote learning mindsets and skills in classroom environments.
  • In exploring the best ways to promote mindsets in online learning environments, we funded the Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS) to oversee projects to test mindset interventions on platforms including Khan Academy, Kaplan University and the Florida Virtual School.
  • We have partnered on several projects with the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) at the University of Chicago. One of those projects, a 2012 literature review entitled “Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners,” established a framework the field has adopted to define learning mindsets and skills.

 

Existing tools and techniques to promote LEARNING mindsets and SKILLS are in wider use

  • We supported the Washington, D.C., Public Education Fund in rolling out the Brainology curriculum to select classrooms in D.C. public middle schools. The curriculum is designed to develop learning mindsets.
  • We provided a grant to the Forum for Advancing Middle Grades Reform to engage hundreds of principals and administrators about the latest science on learning mindsets and skills and tactics to develop them in the classroom.
  • In 2012, we supported the creation of the School Year Academic Youth Development (AYD) program. The program has been piloted in nearly 50 schools, and is working with more than 170 teachers who instruct more than 4,000 students.

 

Events and forums have been created to help the field coalesce

  • The Raikes Foundation has funded a fellowship with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. The fellowship helps create and coordinate initiatives to research learning mindsets and skills across federal research organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Institute for Education Sciences.
  • In May 2013, the Raikes Foundation sponsored and helped organize a White House convening on learning mindsets, which brought together more than 50 leading stakeholders to chart a course that will advance mindsets research and deployments.
  • As a follow-up to the White House convening, we sponsored a design charrette at MIT Media Lab to explore the topic of motivation and online learning.

 

Efforts to increase awareness have enhanced understanding and interest in LEARNING mindsets and SKILLS

  • Our multi-year grant to EducationWeek has produced an ongoing series of stories that explore issues of motivation and engagement in classrooms.
  • Our support for the Washington, D.C., office of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has led to a body of journalism that explains the impact of learning mindsets and skills in the real world.
  • In 2014, the Raikes Foundation helped organize a four-hour workshop for journalists at the Education Writers Association annual conference. The workshop focused on learning mindsets and skills, featuring presentations from several of our grantees who are doing pioneering research in the field.

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  • Partner spotlight

    D.C. Public Education Fund

    CHANGING MINDSETS, CHANGING LIVES

    When Dawn Clemens became principal of Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Washington, D.C., she held a funeral. Into a mock coffin, she dumped a batch of excuses—slips of paper conveying the many reasons people gave for why students weren’t learning. The ritual was her way of saying that, even though the percentage of students living in poverty exceeded those who graduated high school in the area, she would accept no rationalizations for the school’s failure to reach its academic goals.


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    Partner spotlight

    D.C. Public Education Fund

    CHANGING MINDSETS, CHANGING LIVES

    When Dawn Clemens became principal of Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Washington, D.C., she held a funeral. Into a mock coffin, she dumped a batch of excuses—slips of paper conveying the many reasons people gave for why students weren’t learning. The ritual was her way of saying that, even though the percentage of students living in poverty exceeded those who graduated high school in the area, she would accept no rationalizations for the school’s failure to reach its academic goals.


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Education News

I am more convinced than ever that mindsets towards learning could matter more than anything else we teach.

– Sal Khan, Founder and Executive Director of Khan Academy

Illustrative Grants

Equal Opportunity Schools

The application of learning mindsets to increase the participation of low-income students and students of color in rigorous high school Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.

Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Support for the development and management of the Student Agency Improvement Community (SAIC), a networked community that currently includes four nodes: NYC Public Schools, Seattle Community College, Summit Charter Schools, and Harrisonburg City Schools in Virginia.

The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University

Support for the development and management of the Mindset Scholars Network, an interdisciplinary network of scholars and experts conducting groundbreaking research on mindsets and their effect on learning outcomes.

The Project for Education that Scales (PERTS) at Stanford University

Support for the Project for Education that Scales (PERTS) Mindset Challenge, a partnership between researchers and online learning providers to rapidly prototype mindset interventions that promote better learner outcomes.

D.C. Public Education Fund

Support for a demonstration project to bring the Mindset Works curriculum, Brainology, and its Educator Toolkit to District of Columbia middle schools.

University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR)

Support for Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research’s Becoming Effective Learners (BEL) survey measures, a research project to develop high-quality measures of non-cognitive factors.