What are teachers' beliefs about children's learning and what factors informed their practice during the pandemic?

  • Polly Robinson

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Background Teachers facilitate children's learning using a range of approaches in their practice. These may be related to cognitive aspects of learning such as intelligence as well as more holistic approaches such as social dimensions. Many teachers have adapted approaches/practice to facilitate children's access to learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Related theories such as implicit intelligence theory 'Growth Mindset' (Dweck, 2006) and social, cultural theories of development such as Vygotsky (1934) are considered. Methods and participants Paper One is a systematic literature review exploring teacher's beliefs regarding intelligence and mindset and the potential impact on their practice. Paper Two, utilised online interviews and a focus group with 3 teachers to explore how an Early Years setting within a UK primary school has adapted their practice to meet the learning needs of children during the pandemic. Analysis and findings For Paper One, narrative synthesis of the final 8 papers, identified a number of factors influencing teachers' beliefs and practices regarding intelligence/mindset including potential limitations of the measures used, teachers understanding of the concepts and training and systemic support. Paper Two, discusses how Early Years staff have adapted their practice during the pandemic, including use of holistic approaches that consider children's social as well as cognitive learning needs. Facilitators and barriers are discussed. Conclusion and implications Paper One discusses implementation relevant to teachers and schools, educational psychologists and future research. Paper Two considers implications for early years/primary school settings and future research. Paper Three explores how findings from Paper One and Paper Two will be disseminated to participants, stakeholders and wider education field and evaluates the impact of these.
Date of Award31 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorHannah Cartmell (Supervisor) & Caroline Bond (Supervisor)


  • Beliefs
  • Teachers
  • Learning approaches
  • Early years education
  • Intelligence
  • Growth Mindset
  • COVID-19 pandemic

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