Web site logical path: [www.psy.gla.ac.uk] [~steve] [localed] [this page]
This page lists a few basic starting points, plus pointers to pages by me about specific applications I'm concerned with that are related to Positive Psychology.
Positive psychology emerged fairly recently as a new area of academic psychology that seeks to study the nature and causes of happiness (as opposed to unhappiness and mental illness), and how to act so as to increase it.
Carol Dweck's work is
particularly important for the educational applications, though she has some
differences from other positive psychology researchers.
For a first getting to grips with Dweck's particular theory, the advice I have
had is to read her book "Self-theories".
I have a page summarising several dramatic published studies of educational gains from interventions which, to me at least, are inspired by Dweck.
Her main idea or focus is that many learners (prototypically American school children) see all educational tests and tasks as measures of aptitude, showing they are "smart". Consequently if they fail, they do not seek to improve nor to try harder, because of course aptitude is fixed. This attitude is profoundly damaging for learning. "A good education is not so much one which prepares a man to succeed in the world, as one which enables him to sustain failure." (Bernard Iddings Bell)
The best way into her ideas may be through her books:
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (NY: Random House)
Dweck, C.S. (2000) Self-Theories -- Their role in Motivation, Personality and Development. Essays in Social Psychology (Philadelphia: Psychology Press)
She also has papers:
Mueller, M.C. & Dweck, S.C. (1998) "Praise for Intelligence can Undermine Children's Motivation and Performance" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology vol.75, No.1, pp.33-52
Dweck, C.S. (1986) "Motivational processes affecting learning" American Psychologist vol.41 no.10 pp.1040-1048
Malcolm Gladwell: "Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That's it. And what's more, the people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder."
The book "Mao's last dancer" by Li Cunxin paints an outstanding example of growth mindset, especially the chapter called something like Teacher Xao speaks. Also I suppose a good portrait of the role of teachers (good and bad) in this. It makes it sound deeply unattractive and the enemy of well-being, happiness; but just the thing for getting out of poverty, losing contact with your family, and gaining worldwide celebrity.
Web site logical path:
[Top of this page]