MEC seminar - 17 November 2021

  • 17 November 2021
  • 14:00-16:15
  • Microsoft Teams and SCH.001 (Schofield Building)

The Mathematics Education Centre will host this research seminar via Microsoft Teams. Please note the link to join will be circulated a week before the event.

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A:Dr. Samuel Sims “What are the characteristics of effective teacher professional development? New theory and a meta-analytic test” (UCL, UK)


Cognitive science is increasingly providing insights about how pupils learn, with implications for effective teaching. However, our understanding of how to design training (professional development) for teachers remains rudimentary. This limits the extent to which findings from cognitive science can benefit children in our schools. In this talk, I will discuss the limitations of existing research on teacher PD, outline a new theoretical model aimed at addressing these shortcomings, and present the results from a pre-registered meta-analytic test using a comprehensive database of 104 randomised controlled trials of teacher professional development. The results provide useful guidance for researchers looking to trial or scale-up the use of evidence-based pedagogical methods in real classrooms.

15 mins: Break

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A Assistant Professor. Kate Xu “Does the Effect of a Growth Mindset Depend on Task Complexity?” (Open University of the Netherlands)

Abstract: A growth mindset focuses on encouraging the learner’s investment of effort. Research shows that children with a growth mindset may be better able to cope with challenging learning situations such as when encountering difficulty tasks. The goal of this research is to inform the role of a growth mindset for primary school students’ learning during ‘easy’ and ‘difficulty’ tasks. Task difficulty was operationalized as tasks of low and high element interactivity. The research design was based on a 2 (groups: growth mindset vs. control) x 2 (element interactivity: low vs. high) randomized controlled experiment. Participants are 130 children from grade 7 and 8 from two primary schools. The learners reported a higher growth mindset belief after reading growth mindset intervention task, however the effect of a growth mindset was not differentiated across task complexities. Implications and suggestions will be discussed during the talk.

Contact and booking details

Ouhao Chen
Email address
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