As a school we seek to instil high quality learning behaviours within our pupils to promote excellent pupil engagement. At Audley Junior School we want the children to understand that some of their best learning is done when they find things the hardest, and that it is okay to be stuck. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort and persistence, making mistakes part of learning. We believe the best thing that we can do is to teach children to enjoy challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, put in the effort, thrive on feedback and keep on learning. This approach links with how we mark work and give feedback too: we mark giving ‘green’ prompts for improvement, and ‘next step challenge stickers so that all learning for all children, even the most-able, is seen as a way to grow.
Growth Mindset prompts are on display in all classrooms and should be regularly referenced, promoted and used to praise appropriate learning behaviours through the schools ‘Pride Points’ reward system.
The theory behind Growth Mindset is based on the premise that two types of mindsets exist that children and adults may possess, 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
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 are more likely to achieve!
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 own personal best, rather than seeing coming top as the goal.
A quote from Carol Dweck, a principal researcher in Growth Mindset:
"In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that's that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence. They don't necessarily think everyone's the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it."
This is important because (1) individuals with a "growth" theory are more likely to continue working hard despite setbacks and (2) individuals' theories of intelligence can be affected by subtle environmental cues. For example, children given praise such as "good job, you're very smart" are much more likely to develop a fixed mindset, whereas if given compliments like "good job, you worked very hard" they are likely to develop a growth mindset.
In other words, it is possible to encourage students, for example, to persist despite failure by encouraging them to think about learning in a certain way.”
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 is 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 or challenging.
If you would like more information on Growth Mindset, please speak to your child, your child's class teacher or
Mr. Holden our Growth Mindset Champion.