Driver 2 - Supportive Instructor & Course Interactions

Resources in this Change Idea

Evidence Base

People who have a growth mindset about ability believe that it is malleable and can be improved with effort, feedback, and using effective strategies for learning (Dweck, 2006). Recent research has demonstrated the critical importance of the growth mindset culture of a learning environment on students’ academic experiences and outcomes. Mindset culture refers to the degree to which values, norms, policies, and practices in an environment signal whether that ability is malleable or fixed. Instructors and administrators can create growth mindset cultures in their classrooms and campus communities by communicating that they believe all students can grow their abilities over time with effort and support. As a result, they can increase student engagement and improve student learning and academic outcomes. Effectively cultivating a growth mindset culture about ability can also decrease students’ experiences of identity threat and increase levels of trust among students who belong to groups who are targeted by negative stereotypes about their abilities (Canning et. al, 2019).



Student Experience Project


Instructors across the SEP network utilized evidence-based resources in the SEP Practices Library to develop their approach to establishing a growth mindset culture in their classroom. The resource guides in the Practices Library guided instructors in communicating to students that ability is something that is developed over time, that students can learn from their mistakes to grow, and that resources are available to support their success. Dr. Kimran Buckholz (University of New Mexico) asked her learning assistants about times in college when they were able to learn and grow, and shared these stories with her undergraduate students. The supports in the Practices Library help instructors like Dr. Buckholz be successful in implementing these practices in ways that are attuned to students’ experiences.

Visit the SEP Practices Library to learn more about effective growth mindset culture messages, review the evidence-based implementation guide, and see how Dr. Buckholz adapted this practice for her classroom context.