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The implicit theories of intelligence of English adolescents identified as gifted and talented

By Stuart Martin Cadwallader


An implicit theory of intelligence is a belief about the stability of intelligence – whether it is a fixed and innate trait (entity) or a malleable trait that can be manipulated through behaviour (incremental). Dweck & Leggett‟s (1988) model suggests that the theory which an individual holds can have a profound effect on their intrinsic motivation, achievement goals and academic achievement. Though there is support for this model in general, there is no conclusive evidence about whether it applies to the gifted and talented. This thesis tests the model with gifted and talented students quantitatively using a questionnaire (N=417) and explores the themes qualitatively with fourteen of these students using semi-structured email interviews. The data suggests that the theoretical framework does not fully apply to gifted and talented students. Two findings could explain this: a) participants showed high levels of motivation by endorsing both performance and learning goals b) the interview participants expressed quite complex beliefs about intelligence that defied categorization. Overall this thesis supports the need for a personalized approach to teaching the gifted and talented which allows them to maintain both positive performance and positive learning goals

Topics: LB, BF
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2745

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