Transformational Leadership Practices to Inspire Growth Mindsets in Classroom Teachers
Teachers who have a fixed mindset may possess a resistance to change, which prohibits the teachers from adopting innovative instructional practices. Conversely, teachers who have a growth mindset remain optimistic and are willing to take on new challenges (Dweck, 2015; Meierdirk, 2016). The problem is a majority of teachers have experienced situations where negative teacher attitudes have hindered educational development (Ekecrantz & Schwieler, 2016). The literature has provided evidence of strong leadership affecting teacher motivation. A gap still exists regarding how school leaders inspire a growth mindset in teachers. Two independent theories shaped this case study. Transformational Leadership Theory (Burns, 1978) describes how school leaders implement practices that may inspire growth in classroom teachers. Growth Mindset Theory (Dweck, 2016b) establishes the belief in developing knowledge and talents over time, rather than simply being innate or inherited. The research questions and purpose of the study sought to explore how school-based administrators use transformational leadership practices to inspire a growth mindset in classroom teachers around student-centered instruction. The qualitative, exploratory case study targeted a population of secondary school-based administrators and concentrated on a sample of eight such participants in a K–12 urban public-school district who used transformational leadership practices fairly often. Data collection methods included questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and direct observations. Data were coded and analyzed to identify and describe themes to make inferences about which transformational leadership component(s) participants tend to use to inspire a growth mindset in classroom teachers.