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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

$4m Yidan Prize on education research goes to Dweck, Colbert

The duo of Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford University, the United States and Vicky Colbert, founder and director of Escuela Nueva, Colombia, have emerged winners of the inaugural laurates for the Yidan Prize valued at estimated United States $4m, reports ITRealms.

Yidan Prize, ITRealms gathered is dedicated to creating a better world through education and stands out as the world’s biggest education prize.

Each winner in this inaugural edition of Yidan, ITRealms reports, received approximately $4 million US dollars to recognize their distinguished contributions to education and to help fund their future work.

The chairman of the judging committee of the Yidan Prize and the eighth director-general of UNESCO, Dr Koichiro Matsuura, said the Yidan Prize for Education Research laureate is Carol Dweck, the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University in the United States.

“The first-year result was satisfactory and we see a lot of potentials. The nominees’ work was judged based on four criteria which are sustainability, future-orientation, innovation and transformation, and we were impressed by the extent to which the nominated research and development projects have excelled in all aspects, and their tremendous contribution made to the community,” Matsuura said.

Pointing out that the education research is particularly future-oriented as it has proved, through cycles of experiments, even a brief "growth mindset intervention" in schools could markedly increase student performance.

The education project, Matsuura said, is sustainable for addressing the challenge of developing cost-effective, practical models for the tens of thousands of small rural schools.

ITRealms reports that Dweck’s groundbreaking research focused on the pioneering concept of the “growth mindset” built on a fundamental belief in the malleability of intelligence, which has become an influential concept in how children in the classroom are encouraged to evaluate and realize their full potential.

Dweck, Matsuura noted, conducted decades of outstanding scientific research on the effect of human mindsets on human performance, including demonstrating that some people view intelligence as a fixed quality that a person either possesses or does not. Other people view intelligence as a malleable quality that increases with effort and learning.

Those students with a "fixed mindset" tend, Prof Dweck pointed, take failure as evidence of their lack of ability, proving that they cannot succeed. Stressing that in response, they may curtail their effort and perform worse.

“In contrast, students with a "growth mindset" tend to perceive setbacks as evidence that they have not yet mastered the material. In response, they tend to increase effort, seek out more effective learning strategies, and perform better over time.

“Through cycles of experiments, Dweck and her colleagues have developed techniques that alter mindsets, and they have demonstrated that even a brief "growth mindset intervention" in schools can markedly increase student performance.

Also for the Yidan Prize for Education Development laureate, Vicky Colbert, founder and director of the Colombian organization Fundacion Escuela Nueva and co-creator of the Escuela Nueva educational model, Columbia, was adjudged for her education project Escuela Nueva (“New School” in Spanish) with a transformative “learner-centered” model that integrates the curriculum, teacher training, community involvement and school administration in a coherent and cost effective way.

ITRealms reports that the model has addressed fundamental issues in global education - providing high quality schooling for rural areas, and is proven to be impactful for its scalable outcomes in many countries and has been continuously expanded and developed for over three decades.

Also ITRealms gathered that in the 1970s, Colbert addressed the challenge of developing cost-effective, practical models for the tens of thousands of small rural schools scattered across her nation. With a focus on cooperative learning and cross-peer tutoring, she has used extensive cycles of feedback and continuous improvement to transition from conventional, teacher-centered, schooling practices to a new learner-centered model that coherently integrates the curriculum, teacher training and community involvement. This model has spread, making small, under-resourced rural schools effective in many Latin American nations.

In addition, she has adapted the model to urban environments, demonstrating that the Escuela Nueva form of schooling has great promise for improving the education of the hundreds of millions of disadvantaged children throughout the world.


Further, ITRealms gathered that independent judging committee led by Dr Koichiro Matsuura who selected the laureates comprised of Professor Paul Chu Ching-wu, professor of physics, T.L.L., Temple Chair of Science, University of Houston heads the Yidan Prize for Education Research panel, and Dorothy K. Gordon, former director-general of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT leads the Yidan Prize for Education Development panel.

Remmy Nweke & Uj. N. Dominic/ED, Ops
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Pix: Prof. Dweck & Vicky Colbert

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