Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor/Committee Member

Kristine Mensonides Gritter, Ph.D.

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Munyi Shea, Ph.D.

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Julie Antilla, Ph.D.


growth mindset, fixed mindset, social and emotional learning (SEL), culturally responsive SEL, domain-specific beliefs, measurement of growth mindset, holistic teaching practices, explicit mindset messages, implicit mindset messages, general teaching practices, discipline specific teaching practice


A prevalent issue that exists in education is students who demonstrate a defeated or fixed mindset—that is, when students view their intelligence and academic abilities as something that is inherent and cannot be changed overtime. Most of the research on growth mindset takes place in math classrooms, as the literature suggests that math is more frequently viewed as a subject area in which students have fixed mindsets. Additionally, most of the research on growth mindsets involves the use of quantitative research methods as opposed to the use of qualitative methods. Furthermore, there is a lack of research that examines teaching practices holistically in terms of how teachers may implicitly or explicitly portray growth or fixed mindset messages to students through their approach towards classroom organization, instruction, and evaluation and assessment. Therefore, this study sought to examine holistic teaching practices through a growth mindset lens to determine those general and discipline specific practices that may perpetuate growth mindset messages to students in high school English Language Arts classrooms. A case study design has been utilized in which four ELA high school teachers have been observed to determine how growth mindset messages may be perpetuated to students. A framework was developed outlining general and discipline-specific practices that may convey growth mindset messages to students in high school ELA classrooms. Limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.

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