Fostering a growth mindset in higher education for inclusive learning for all
Keywords:growth mindset, equality, diversity and inclusion, STEM, higher education (HE)
This article aims to encourage educators and universities to explore interventions and practices that cultivate a growth mindset to reduce inequality in the academic success of students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnic or other minorities, especially in STEM. Universities invest significantly in closing the achievement gap, particularly for such students. Disadvantaged students who have excelled academically are often labelled ‘gifted’. However, this label may emphasise the importance of students’ innate abilities over cognitive ones. Furthermore, it may foster fear of failure and lead to avoidance of challenges and lack of efforts, concealing the lack of understanding to retain the ‘gifted’ image, and create significant barriers to learning. As student diversity increases, pedagogical approaches must evolve accordingly. This article investigates ways to inspire students to remain motivated about their STEM subject and discusses ways to cultivate a growth mindset, factors influencing students’ mindsets, recent criticisms of the growth mindset approach, and the role of learning development in fostering a growth mindset. When faculty and students embrace the idea that intellectual abilities can grow through diligence, determination, and correct strategies, they can transform how educators approach learning and help shift the focus away from content delivery to active and transformative learning.
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