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Title: Trying to make the implicit more explicit : a critical examination of Carol Dweck's implicit theories of intelligence in an English secondary school
Author: Green, Robert
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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Dweck’s Implicit Theories of Intelligence (ITsI) suggest that most people either endorse an entity (fixed) theory of intelligence or an incremental (malleable) theory of intelligence (Dweck, 1999). Entity theorists are more likely to engage in helpless responses and give up after difficult learning tasks. Incremental theorists are more likely to persist and engage in mastery-oriented learning (Dweck, 1999). There is limited evidence to suggest that incremental theorists enjoy greater academic progression in terms of their outcomes (Blackwell et al, 2007). Dweck (2007) has suggested that ITsI are highly relevant after a transition to a larger, more competitive school context, (such as the primary-secondary transfer at age 11). ITsI are typically identified by questionnaire and little is known about them. There are concerns in the UK about educational under-achievement (Department for Education, 2012) and also the need to promote effective lifelong learning (Claxton, 1999). Dweck’s ITsI have the potential to contribute to responses to both of those concerns. Dweck’s ITsI have received limited attention and study in the UK, despite their potential (Dweck, 2007). However, Dweck’s ITsI are arguably over-simplistic in their attempt to explain a range of complex human behaviours in learning situations. This study sought to make the ITsI of eight Year 8 students from a secondary school in England explicit through semi-structured interviews. These students were able to make their ITsI explicit. The findings were analysed by thematic analysis. These students broadly favoured the incremental theory but some students appear to hold both theories in different subjects. They found it difficult to identify what had influenced their ITsI. This study suggested that Dweck’s ITsI resonated with these Year 8 students. Individual, discursive approaches with students after their transition to secondary school might be an effective way of capitalising upon Dweck’s ITsI. Educational psychologists (EPs) have the skills and research knowledge to mediate Dweck’s ITsI in schools in the UK to enhance children’s learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology