Combined Mindfulness/Growth Mindset Embedded Classroom Intervention: Math Anxiety Reduction in STEM-related Courses
Faculty Professional Development Workshop
Math anxiety and self-doubt about math achievement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure for many community college students, even those who are otherwise excelling in their areas of concentration. Research has shown that math anxiety primarily affects students when they are anticipating math situations, which subsequently affects their ability to execute math problems (Lyons & Beilock, 2012). Embedding social and environmental psychological interventions in the classroom (Spitzer & Aronson, 2015) has greatly contributed to student success. Research indicates that mindfulness (Bellinger, DeCaro & Ralston, 2015) and growth mindset interventions (Chen, Bae, Battista, Evans, & Menon, 2015) have both been quite effective in reducing math anxiety symptoms in college students.
A successfully pilot-tested study – the first of its kind to induce a combined mindfulness and growth mindset approach in various STEM courses – has already indicated that this method may mitigate math anticipation and execution anxiety as well as promote math self-efficacy in our students. The research project will further test this new, inexpensive, yet effective method to reduce negative contextual factors while making mathematical mental health widely available to students in a variety of STEM-related courses at Guttman, including Quantitative Reasoning, Statistics, Economics, and Chemistry.
Professional development for up to ten (10) instructors of STEM-related courses will involve a one-day, 8-hour intensive training session. Participants will learn about mindfulness and growth mindset and explore the relevant theory and practices. The training will also contain an orientation on the research project.
Instructors will complete a survey about engagement, math anxiety, and confidence levels in math of students they have previously taught. Instructors will also be asked about their prior knowledge of mindfulness and growth mindset theory.
Mindfulness & Growth Mindset Comprehension
Participants will be guided through a series of individual and group contemplative activities to practice and better understand the concepts of mindfulness and growth mindset and their significance. It is crucial that this part of the training session is experiential.
Introduction and Logistics of the Research Project
PD participants will be introduced to the research project and given an overview of the research and results completed thus far. Then, they will review in detail the research logistics, consent forms, and surveys. By the end of the session, instructors will be prepared to implement mindfulness and growth mindset methods in their courses.