How to Encourage Academic Grit and a Growth Mindset in Your Students

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by Princy Quadros-Mennella, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Neuroscience Program, Bay Path University

and Thomas Mennella, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology Director of the M.S. in Applied Laboratory Science and Operations Program, Bay Path University

The Question: How Do We Improve Learning Outcomes for All Students?

Even though innovative new pedagogies and educational technologies lead to enhanced student engagement and improvement of the classroom experience, we consistently see the learning outcomes of low-performing students remain largely unaffected (3, 7). Meanwhile, high-achieving students continue to learn effectively in more "traditional" lecture-based formats, despite the relative ineffectiveness of that pedagogy (7).

Why can't we seem to improve learning outcomes for all students?

More cynical instructors may believe that "some students get it and others don't." However, we reject the notion that some students are not smart enough for college-level work. Although some students do not apply the minimal effort needed for academic success, the vast majority of struggling students work hard and strive to be successful, but often fall short of achieving that success. So why can't we seem to improve the learning outcomes of these hard-working students?

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