Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Tom Cavanagh

Abstract

Current research shows that students with a growth mindset are more motivated to learn, want to work harder, are less discouraged by difficulty, use more effective strategies for learning, and have higher academic performance in comparison to students without this mindset. Despite these promising findings, a growth mindset is sometimes not reinforced or is even refuted by classroom conditions. The purpose of this intrinsic case study was to explore how community college educators create classroom environments that foster a growth mindset. The conceptual framework for this study was a social constructivist approach where the interviewer and the participants co-constructed the interpretation of how to influence a growth mindset in the community college classroom. Data were collected through 14 in-depth interviews with community college educators who completed a workshop on influencing a growth mindset. Data were analyzed through categorizing, coding, and identifying themes that answered the research question. The findings of this study indicated that the mindset of the student and the teacher play an important role in academic success at the community college and that faculty desire training in tools and strategies to create classroom environments that foster a growth mindset. Recommendations include an in-depth, experiential professional development program based on research where community college educators from a variety of disciplines can collaborate to gain new knowledge and skills. Training community college educators using the most effective ways of fostering a growth mindset to increase students' motivation, effort, and persistence will lead to greater academic success and degree completion.