Growth mindset in teaching: A case study of a Finnish elementary school teacher

Rina Ronkainen, Elina Kuusisto, Kirsi Tirri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This study investigates how a growth mindset is actualised in one first-grade teacher’s classroom. Mindset refers to implicit beliefs that individuals hold about basic human qualities. A person with a growth mindset sees these qualities as malleable and subject to development, whereas a person with a fixed mindset sees these qualities as static and unalterable. Previous research has shown that teachers’ mindsets have an influence on their pedagogical thinking and practice. The data in this study include classroom observations, videotaping and stimulated recall interviews. Deductive content analysis was used in the inquiry. The teacher’s growth mindset pedagogy was actualised with one student in particular when the teacher gave critical feedback in the form of “not yet”. This gradually changed the student’s fixed mindset behaviour towards a growth mindset. The teacher’s growth mindset was also actualised in the class as a whole when she fostered students’ process-focused thinking with concrete and immediate praise, indicating her high expectations. The teacher studied can be regarded as an example of a growth-mindset teacher, and her actions and reflections on the teaching-studying-learning process provide illuminating examples of growth mindset pedagogy in classroom interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)141-154
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences

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