Spring 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Michelle Benegas

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Heidi Bernal

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Marta Shahsavand


This qualitative, classroom action research was conducted in a private bilingual school in Colombia with seventeen participants. The research questions were: 1) How do second-grade Colombian English language learners report changes to their Growth Mindset qualities following a six-week Growth Mindset intervention? and 2) How do second-grade Colombian English language learners perceive their language learning ability following a self-evaluation of Growth Mindset qualities? The research fills a gap in existing literature on three similar topics: Growth Mindset and academic achievement for adolescents and adults, conditional self-worth for children six and younger, and attribution theory and language learning for adolescents. One of the main objectives was to introduce language learning ability as a Growth quality to participants; that is, as malleable attribute that can be controlled and increased through effort, persistence, quality of strategy, and engagement in challenge. The research methods required participants to take a before-intervention questionnaire, participate in an age-appropriate, six-week Growth Mindset modeled after Blackwell’s et al. (2007) seminal study, and then take the same questionnaire after the intervention. Three participants were chosen to articulate their mindsets in a one-on-one interview. The data and results indicated diverse results between participants for all three subtopics studied despite nearly no change in students’ average mindsets. The discussion raised many questions as to why students’ results were so diverse and gives suggestions for how to support students in the area of conditional self-worth.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Curriculum Development


Brain-based Learning, ESL/ ELLs, Motivation