Growth Mindsets is a key concept which shapes the ethos of our school based on the work of Carol Dweck. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort and persistence.
We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy the effort and keep on learning. We start these concepts from entry into Nursery. Children are taught resilience and are seen to be competent in all aspects of learning. The characteristics of effective learning are embedded in the Early Years Foundation Stage allowing children to develop a lifelong love of learning. For children who find work easy, we make sure they encounter more difficult tasks. We wish for children to recognise that effort, persistence and good teaching are what help them improve.
This approach links in with our marking and feedback policy too: we always mark giving prompts for improvement in writing and next steps in maths so that all learning for all children, even the more able,can see it as a way to improve. If children have fixed mindsets they find it hard to cope with failure: we teach our children to see mistakes and failure as positive.
We hope this will help you to support positive attitudes towards learning and high self-esteem in children at home, just as we are doing in school
Having been introduced to the concept of growth mindset at St Matthew’s on our September 2017 Teacher Training Day, pupils have participated in a range of activities to learn more about it and try to display a growth mindset in school (and at home). Pupils are taught how their brains work and how new connections are formed when we try new things and practise them, over and over.
We have introduced the theories of Dr Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, who conducted a lifetime’s research into mindsets and concluded a difference between a fixed mindset (the belief that intelligence is fixed) and a growth mindset (the belief that intelligence can grow).
Pupils have learnt about famous and influential people who have succeeded due to having a growth mindset and not giving up on their goal. We have had PSHE lessons and assemblies about growth mindset, but most importantly, teachers and pupils have embraced the language and the way of thinking that promotes using a growth mindset in all lessons.
We want all our pupils to relish challenges, embrace their mistakes as part of the learning process, value the importance of effort, respond carefully to feedback and take inspiration from others. This will help them to achieve, not only with us but also in their future lives as adults.
Some key aspects of Growth Mindset at St Matthew’s School
- We remember it’s always OK to make mistakes – we learn from them
- We never give up! We try a different approach or use a different strategy
- We don’t compare ourselves with others, but we do learn from others
- We challenge ourselves – which really helps us make
- We take risks – we don’t limit ourselves by taking the easy option
- We join in as much as possible – and we learn much more by being involved
- We remember that mastering something new feels so much better than doing something you can already do
- We remember that the brain is making new connections all the time – the only thing you need to know is that you can learn anything!
For further information on how to encourage confident and resilient learners at home, have a look at some of the links below.
- Mindset Works – Growth Mindset Parenting
- Oxford Learning – Growth Mindset Tips for Parents
- BBC – Help your child try new things
If you ever have any questions or queries about Growth Mindset, how we practice it or even how you can help at home, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your child’s class teacher, they will be more than happy to advise you further.