Linking math teachers' motivations and beliefs to learning mindsets

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Date

2019-09-11

Authors

Kudym, Molly R.

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Teacher mindsets are the subject of research due to their importance in understanding teacher retention and success. Building on past growth mindset research, I argue that mindsets are related to a teachers’ motivations for becoming a teacher and their beliefs regarding teaching ability. To evaluate these relationships, I use math teacher survey data from the National Study of Learning Mindsets. The math teacher survey collection took place in 2015-2016 with 321 teachers completing the survey. These teachers were chosen because they taught students who participated in the National Study. Results indicate that having additional years of teaching experience and choosing to teach because of the flexible schedule correlates with having a higher fixed mindset. Contrastingly, trust in the school principal correlates with teachers having more of a growth mindset. When comparing low-quality schools to high quality/high minority, the latter schools have teachers with more of a fixed mindset. This finding matters because it shows that low-quality schools are probably attracting teachers who accept that the students at their school are struggling and attribute this to their intelligence or failure to work hard. Future research will examine the relationship between these findings while considering the context of the school by adding in student survey questions in which they report their experiences with these teachers.

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