Graduation Date

Spring 2020

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Education

Committee Chair Name

Libbi Miller

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Hyun-Kyung You

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Betty Durso

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Mindsets, or how we as individuals characterize intelligence and our ability to attain it, are deeply connected to motivation. Those who employ a fixed mindset view intelligence as set and effort as fruitless. Conversely, those who utilize a growth mindset have healthy attitudes about challenges and view effort as a necessary part of learning. For educators working with children, finding ways to encourage growth over fixed mindsets is incredibly indicative of the future academic success individual children might experience. This study explores the foundations of mindset attainment through a teacher’s ability to affect individual preschool-aged (three to five years) children’s willingness to participate in activities. As willful participation is seen as a necessary component of growth mindset, further influences on participation are explored as well. Activities were utilized during set small group activity time that were designed to foster ideals important to a growth mindset and willingness to participate was recorded. Observations were then taken during free choice time to attempt to connect completed small group activities with increased display of growth mindset characteristics. While results were inconclusive in regard to an educator’s actual ability to influence individual willingness, important characteristics of a successful classroom insofar as mindset implementation were discovered. Results pointed to the possibility that the age group is developmentally more highly motivated to participate in new activities than older children. The other classroom effects on individual willingness to participate were represented through results as well that contextualized the importance peer of relationships, relationships between teachers and students and the diversification of activities, group size and adults in the classroom play daily. These results point to the existence and importance of a greater classroom system that, as a whole, can be utilized by educators to promote healthy ideas about learning, achievement and mindset growth.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location