Date of Award

Fall 2-16-2018

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Jeffrey Lee

Second Advisor

Carlos Guzman

Third Advisor

Tamerin Capellino


Purpose. The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to identify and describe teacher implementation of growth mindset as the basis of school culture at one elementary school in Southern California.

Methodology. This phenomenological case study utilized interviews, artifacts, and informal observations to ascertain an accurate portrayal of the conditions, phenomena, and circumstances that surround growth mindset school culture implementation. Similarly, this methodology assisted the researcher in gaining insight into the lived experiences of the participants as well as strategies for implementing a growth mindset school culture. To participate in the study, participants were certified by the California State Board of Education, have been employed full-time in an elementary school teaching assignment for more than 5 years, currently implementing growth mindset strategies, and have attended accredited training on growth mindset implementation.

Findings. A thorough examination of study participant interviews, observations, and artifacts yielded 19 themes and 358 frequencies surrounding growth mindset culture implementation. Ten prevalent findings were established, based on the frequency of references, and analyzed to form conclusions.

Conclusions. The 10 prevalent findings were summarized as 6 conclusions, centered around creating a growth mindset school culture. It was concluded: Teachers are able to establish a growth mindset by creating a positive culture, fostering effective teaching and meaningful learning, and intentional use of common “growth” vocabulary; teachers that create and maintain a safe learning environment afford students opportunities for personal growth; students are empowered when teachers incorporate leadership opportunities for students and foster a culture of risk taking; in order to empower students to embrace challenge, teachers must show genuine affection and concern for all students; Effective professional development for integrating growth mindset as a basis for school culture must be supported with routine opportunities for both personal and professional development; and in order to establish a growth mindset in classrooms, teachers must look beyond the traditional curriculum and foster a climate centered around the whole child.

Recommendations. Further research is recommended to replicate and extend the study to a variety of populations and samples in order to expand the understanding of how to create a growth mindset school culture.