You may have heard your children talking about our work on growth mindset. It has been proven that having a Growth Mindset can improve children’s progress and attainment. As a result, we are teaching our children that by having a Growth Mindset they can grow their brains and intelligence and achieve anything they want!
We want the children to understand that it is okay to be stuck, and that some of their best learning is done when they find things the hardest. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort and persistence. We are basing many of our assemblies on this thinking and there are displays all around the school.
We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. For children who find work easy we make sure they encounter more difficult tasks. Our children recognise that effort, persistence and good teaching are what help them improve.
Every class has been looking at and learning about the two types of mindsets that children and adults can have, a ‘fixed’ mindset and a ‘growth’ mindset. Below is an overview of the traits of each:
- I like my work to be easy
- I don’t like to try a challenge
- I want people to praise me for how clever I am
- I believe I cannot change how clever I am
- I don’t like to try new things because I won’t be very good at it
- I give up easily
- I never give up
- I like my work to be difficult – it means I am learning
- I love challenges
- I want people to praise me for the effort I put into my work
- I believe I can get more intelligent by working hard
- I feel clever when I’m learning something new
- I learn from my mistakes
This approach links with how we mark work and give feedback too; we always mark giving ‘prompts for improvement’ in writing and ‘next steps’ in maths so that all learning for all children, even the very brightest, is seen as a way to grow. If children have fixed mindsets they find it hard to cope with failure; we teach our children to see mistakes and failure as positive. This makes for a very energetic and inclusive culture. It also has a really positive effect on our ethos and on how children approach learning and support each other. Children strive to improve their personal best at St. Peter’s rather than seeing coming top as the goal.
How you can help at home
- Praise the amount of effort your child is putting into things rather than how clever they are
- Talk to your children about their brain being like a muscle – the more they use it, the stronger it gets
- Encourage your children to not give up if they are finding something difficult
- Challenge your children to try something new
Phrases which encourage a Growth Mindset
- Look at that!
- Tell me about it
- Show me more
- Can you do it again without help?
- How did you do that?
- Let’s see what you did.
- How do you feel about it?
- How did you work that out?
- I see that you _________ (be specific)
- That looks like it took a lot of effort
- How many ways did you try it before it turned out the way you wanted it?
- What do you plan to do next?
- That looks like it took so much work.
- Are you pleased with what you did?
- What questions did you ask?
- Keep trying and you’ll get there.