Maybe I should have studied psychology…
So my office mate, A, a new biology teacher who was formally a PhD researcher in psychology and I have cooked up a plan to start a research program to study brain based learning with our students. Our thought is try to reproduce the results of Dweck’s Mindset studies on 5th graders in our elementary school, and they see if there are gender based differences in the outcomes, or cohort based differences in the outcomes (a small group of kids enter the school in 5th grade, as opposed to the others who start in 1st grade). The best thing is that we’re going to try to use some motivated 9th graders as our researchers, and maybe a junior or two from A’s classes. We’re going to try to make this pretty official, working with the high school students to write up a proposal for the administration, running it through an IRB (never done that before, since all my experiments in college were things without a psyche), and then have them present their data to someone (don’t know who yet).
Why will this be awesome (I hope)?
- We’ll be teaching 9th graders how to do real science. Who knows where this will go when these kids can then drive to local university labs.
- We’ll be teaching kids, subconsciously, about mindset. They’ll (hopefully) be confirming Dweck’s work, and finding out it applies to their 5th grade former selves.
- And maybe the findings they make will begin to have an effect on more than just the researchers—if we can find the right venue to share with the elementary, middle and high school, this could be big.