Five Questions to Ask: Psychology of Learning

Does your school or district provide mental health professionals to students in need? Determine whether schools with students who are more likely to suffer from trauma have fewer counselors than schools with wealthier students.

Does your coverage area claim to employ the tenets of grit, mindsets or social-and-emotional learning? If so, what materials are they using and which experts did they consult?

When you visit classrooms, do teachers encourage students to try harder or encourage them to come up with sound studying habits? Are classrooms designed so that students can help one another arrive at answers?

How does your school measure the effects of psychology of learning curricular add-ons? Are there metrics in use to gauge whether students’ grit or mindsets are improving? Were those metrics checked against best practices suggested by leading scholars or instructional coaches? And are teachers being evaluated in part based on how well students perform on social-and-emotional indicators?

If your school is showing signs of promoting grit, mindsets or social-and-emotional learning, are these principles and practices seen in all grades or limited to a few teachers? How much collaboration is there between teachers? Is one teacher focusing on growth mindset while another is using methods that may run counter to it?