New Hartford CSD and PTA Council Proudly Presents Acclaimed Researcher David Yeager
Can we teach children resilience? Can we help students develop what education researcher Carol Dweck defines as a “growth mindset?” The New Hartford Teacher Center promotes an exploration of such questions through ongoing professional development programs. Modern research on these topics suggests new avenues for student growth and achievement. Dr. David Yeager will be on campus the first week of school to help educators and parents deepen our understanding of this ground-breaking research. The community is invited to join Dr. Yeager for a presentation and discussion on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 from 6:30-7:30 pm at the James A. Meyer Performing Arts Center.
Dr. Yeager is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his Ph.D. in Developmental and Psychological Science from Stanford University, but before he became a researcher, he was a middle school English teacher in Oklahoma. In a 2009 study, Yeager and his colleagues focused on the role of “purposeful work goals” in increasing adolescents’ academic performance. He defines “purposeful work goals” as a combination of a student’s vision of his/her future self and a sense that the student can contribute to improving the world and helping others. Yeager’s research found that when students have this sense of purpose, they perform better academically. They have a sense that their schoolwork is meaningful in helping them achieve their goals. Students with a sense of their future identity also “report higher optimism and self-esteem, as well as less hopelessness and delinquent attitudes.”
Dr. Yeager also collaborated with Dweck in a study of how to teach adolescents to be more resilient. In this study, the two looked at how mindset affected both academic and social challenges. Their findings regarding academic challenges are familiar. Students who possessed a growth mindset were better able to recover, move on, and improve after an academic setback. Their study also confirmed that students can be taught to have a growth mindset. A further compelling aspect of this research is the effect that students’ mindsets had on their perception of peer conflicts. Students with fixed mindsets viewed bullying or peer exclusion in very different ways than students with growth mindsets. This affected not only their perception of self but also their response to the action.
After his presentation on the evening of September 5, Dr. Yeager will present to the New Hartford Central School faculty and staff the following morning. School opens Thursday, September 7, 2017.