Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Baldus, Clara M

First Committee Member

Schmidt, Renita R

Second Committee Member

Bills, David B

Third Committee Member

Datchuk, Kimberly A


This research explores the relationship between mindsets and divergent thinking skills. Specifically, the research questions sought to answer whether there was a positive association between a higher presence of divergent thinking skills and a creative growth mindset, as well as the impact environment has on creative growth. A total of 184 second and sixth grade students from a larger urban school district were surveyed. Data collection included: student surveys, two divergent thinking assessments, direct observation of the students and teacher notes. Results indicate most students identify with a creative growth mindset, but are lacking specific strategies to demonstrate creative growth. In addition, reflective survey results revealed the impact environment can have in helping students recognize and apply the specific strategies and characteristics highly creative people possess.

Public Abstract

Many of the traits associated with a growth mindset, such as curiosity, openness to experience, persistence, and willingness to take risks, are also traits linked with high levels of creativity. Students who believe their abilities can be improved are more likely to persist and take on new challenges. Understanding which classroom atmospheres and instructional strategies nurture these traits optimizes students’ chances for creative growth.

The goal of this research was to investigate students’ current beliefs regarding their creative ability. This information was then used to design instructional experiences and atmospheres that support student growth. Students in this study completed surveys and creative thinking challenges that were evaluated for creative growth. Overall, this research indicates the need to equip students with specific strategies to identify and overcome challenges they face in the creative process. Helping students recognize and nurture individual creative growth can increase student engagement and ultimately give students autonomy over their learning.


Divergent Thinking, Growth Mindset, Nurturing Creativity


ix, 63 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 62-63).


Copyright © 2016 Heather Michele Seibel