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Hundreds of Dundee children gather at Abertay to test “Growth Mindset” concept

13 May 2016

More than 300 Dundee school children spent this week at Abertay University for a series of experimental psychology sessions involving problem-solving, food science, diet and sports psychology.

The 320 pupils from first and second years at Baldragon Academy and St Paul’s Academy are taking part in the “Growth Mindset” project currently being run by Leisure & Culture Dundee and Winning Scotland.

 “Growth mindset” is the name given by American psychologist Carol Dweck to the idea that intelligence can develop, and that effort leads to success.

Schools throughout the UK have adopted elements of the idea which suggests that our performance at school and in life can be changed by our attitude, and particularly by how we cope with setbacks: this is called having a “growth mindset”. 

The two-year Growth Mindset project in Dundee was launched in 2015 and works with schools in Tayside to try and improve the prospects of children, particularly from less privileged socioeconomic areas.

Some of the children taking part in the Abertay sessions have already been through Growth Mindset activities, while others have yet to start.  The Abertay sessions are a way of testing whether Growth Mindset makes a difference to children’s performance at school.

Around 80 children each day for four days took part in four sessions, covering personality and problem solving tests, self-referential learning and diet, food science activities, and applications of psychology in sport.

Psychologists and food scientists from Abertay University together with sports experts from the Dundee Academy of Sport – a joint project between Abertay and Dundee & Angus College – ran the sessions.

The Abertay involvement came about through Jamie McBrearty, Growth Mindset Manager at Leisure & Culture Dundee, who graduated from Abertay University twice, first with a BSc (Hons) Sport Coaching and Development and second with an MBA (Sports Development).

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