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Physics Colloquium: Prof. David S. Yeager, Dept. of Psychology, UT-Austin
Wednesday, September 09, 2020, 04:00pm

Prof. David S. Yeager, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

"How student and faculty mindsets shape success in college, and what UT is doing about it"

Abstract: Our new educational reality is bringing questions of long-standing importance to the fore. More than ever, faculty are asking: how can I inspire more students to be self-directed learners, to stay engaged, and to persist when the work is difficult? In this talk, I will share findings from the science of learning mindsets--which are people's beliefs about their ability, belonging, and purpose--and show how these mindsets have been linked to learning and perseverance. Randomized, controlled trials have shown that even short activities which shift students' mindsets can improve educational outcomes months or years later, for example in a paper we published in Nature in 2019 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1466-y). Next, this talk will cover the new frontier in learning mindset research: the focus on the classroom climate and on instructors' practices. The talk will explain how secondary and post-secondary faculty are now on the leading edge of educational improvements because they are developing new mindset practices and finding ways to evaluate them. Finally, the talk will cover a new initiative at UT, the Texas Mindset Initiative, which seeks to build large, shared infrastructure that makes rigorous experimental tests of learning mindset practices faster, easier, and more open and transparent.