Our starting point is the web-based intervention and the same measures of mindset as Bettinger et al. (2018), who adapted the intervention and measures in Yeager et al. (2016) to the Norwegian high school context. However, in Bettinger et al. (2018), teachers were not a part of the intervention. In this trial, we include teachers by providing them with knowledge about the brain’s malleability, growth mindset, and tools that help them create a classroom climate that supports a growth mindset.
Together with the participating school districts, we first invite all teachers assigned to the treatment group to a full day seminar, with lectures about growth mindset and the intervention. We cover what past research has shown, why we should care about this in the Norwegian context, what to keep in mind when giving students feedback and characteristics of classrooms that support a growth mindset. In addition, we go through the entire intervention and the boosters together with the teachers and the teachers get to practice the classroom discussions. The goal of the seminar is to make the teachers confident in conducting the intervention with their students, and we encourage them to ask if they have any questions or concerns.
We provide the teachers with a detailed educational program with a description of every session they are going to perform, when each session is going to occur and the tools they need to perform the intervention with their students. The program consists of six separate sessions (five in the fall and one in the spring semester).
In the first session, the students log on through the school districts webpage and access the first of two web-based programs (the same as used in Bettinger et al., 2018). In this first session, students get to learn about what happens in the brain as you learn new things, why it is important to challenge yourself (especially during high school) and how a growth mindset have helped other students. In addition to looking at pictures and reading text, we ask students several questions during the program. The students answer these questions and hand in the answers to the teacher at the end of the session. These answers make up the basis for the classroom discussion in the next session.
Before the second session, the first of four classroom discussions, the teacher read through the students’ answers from the first session and create three to four questions to discuss in the classroom. We instruct the teachers to base these questions on the following themes: different learning strategies, it is normal to struggle, be frustrated and make mistakes when learning, and motivation to continue even though things are difficult. During the classroom discussions, students first discuss in small groups (3-4 students), before all students participate in a full class discussion. The goal of the discussions are that students get comfortable reflecting and talking about a growth mindset, that they get exposed to other students’ thoughts and ways of thinking, and that they get used to that struggling, getting frustrated and making mistakes are a normal part of the learning process.
The third session consists of the second of the two web-based programs. Similar to the first one, students log on through the school districts webpage. In this session, students get to learn about what scientists say about holding a growth mindset, what a growth mindset have helped other people do, examples of famous people who possesses a growth mindset and other high school students’ thoughts on growth mindset (explained in detail in Bettinger et al., 2018). Similar to the first web-based session students are asked questions, which they answer and hand in to the teacher at the end of the session.
In the fourth session, the second classroom discussion, teachers first read through the students’ answers on the questions from the second part of the web-based program (the third session). Based on these answers they create three to four questions for the classroom discussion (as in the second session). The themes we ask the teachers to base their questions on in this session are what students find important and how to encourage yourself and others to use a growth mindset. The layout and the goals of the session are the same as in the previous classroom discussion (in the second session).
Before the fifth and sixth session, we ask the teachers to give the students a hand-in assignment, a booster, which they are to read through and base the final two classroom discussion on. The layout and the goal of the sessions are the same as the previous classroom discussions. The theme in the fifth and sixth classroom discussion are “cooperation” and “after a holiday”, respectively. In addition to these overall themes of the session, we ask the teachers to make the questions based on the subthemes: it is normal to struggle, get frustrated and make mistakes when learning and the importance of effort, good strategies and to know when to ask for help.