Skip to main content
Mindset about Intelligence and Meaningful and Mindful Effort: It's Not My Hardest Class Any More!
Learning Communities Research and Practice
  • Janice A. Wiersema, Iowa State University
  • Barbara Licklider, Iowa State University
  • Janette R. Thompson, Iowa State University
  • Suzanne Hendrich, Iowa State University
  • Cynthia Haynes, Iowa State University
  • Katherine Thompson, Central College
Document Type
Publication Version
Published Version
Publication Date
College students’ implicit theories (or mindsets) about intelligence can affect not only their motivations toward learning, but also their cognitive habits and behaviors while learning thus impacting academic achievement. In this paper we describe learning experiences we used with our learning community to 1) introduce students to the concept of implicit theories (mindsets) about intelligence, 2) encourage them to move toward growth mindsets rather than fixed mindsets about their abilities to learn, 3) challenge them to identify learning as more than memorization and recall, and 4) hold them accountable for doing the work of the mind (meaningful and mindful effort) required for learning. Questionnaires given at the beginning and again at the end of the semester revealed increases in students’ self-reported knowledge of mindset about intelligence and the effect it has on their abilities to learn, about the impact meaningful and mindful effort has on learning, and about the meaning of effort. More important, students also reported positive changes in behaviors as they took more responsibility for their own growth and development by practicing the work of the mind. Leaders of learning communities can use this set of learning experiences to help their students achieve even more academic success.

This article is from Learning Communities Research and Practice 3 (2015): 3. Posted with permission.

Authors retain copyright of their material under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution 3.0 License.
Copyright Owner
The Authors
File Format
Citation Information
Janice A. Wiersema, Barbara Licklider, Janette R. Thompson, Suzanne Hendrich, et al.. "Mindset about Intelligence and Meaningful and Mindful Effort: It's Not My Hardest Class Any More!" Learning Communities Research and Practice Vol. 3 Iss. 2 (2015) p. 3
Available at: