Schools need to approach equity issues with a growth mindset
- Improving equity and closing the achievement gap in schools requires not just looking at data, but also acknowledging history and context, as well as examining teachers' and administrators' attitudes with a growth mindset, Dr. Michael Moody, co-founder of Insight ADVANCE and Insight Education Group, said in an EdSurge article.
- Equity discussions need to focus not only on race, but also on factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, family background, disability, and religious beliefs, because they all bring different experiences to the educational setting, Moody wrote.
- By also being learners, educators can be more engaged in the process, and they can set aside time and space to talk about equity. By evaluating their own beliefs, data, and student experience at their schools, they can create better solutions, instead of just discussing the issue.
Attitudes can influence education. Most teachers would arguably acknowledge that a student’s attitude toward his studies will influence his or her engagement and, ultimately, academic outcomes. Fostering a growth mindset in students can have an effect on these results. According to a 2016 study, a growth mindset can even help counteract the effects of poverty on student achievement.
However, teacher mindsets are important as well. Teachers can sometimes express a subtle bias in dealing with students whose races, backgrounds, or beliefs differ from their own, and as a result, they may be unaware of these attitudes or the way they are affecting the classroom. Educators also need to adopt a growth mindset when it comes to equity issues if they are to be truly effective in solving them. These factors also affect the way teachers view the possibility of student achievement, and in certain cases, student achievement itself. In fact, a study by the Stanford Graduate School of Education indicates that a growth mindset in teachers may have more of an impact than a growth mindset in students.
Social-emotional learning also plays a role in the development of growth mindsets and in the fostering of a better understanding of people from diverse backgrounds. However, teaching SEL skills sometimes faces resistance from people who don’t understand its value and purpose. A report issued in June also indicates that marginalized youth and students of color sometimes face barriers in the realm of social-emotional learning. These barriers need to be overcome for students — and teachers — to develop the growth mindset that will improve outcomes and help address equity issues.