for a place
Retweeted From Blackheath Science
A group of our Year 8 students enjoyed a really inspiring day at the inaugural @GDSTEM conference at Imperial College London. They've come back buzzing with ideas and plans. @BlackheathHigh #WomenInSTEM #thisgirlcan https://t.co/sSLtn9e47J
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Retweeted From Carol Chandler-Thomp
So much food for thought from our first #Wollstonecraft lecture of term by @carrissima - I particularly liked the thought that ‘Plan B doesn’t have to suck!’ Thank you so much for visiting @BlackheathHigh and sharing your wisdom. https://t.co/RVtshTkKfT
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Retweeted From GDST Skills
Fantastic day @Cambridge_Uni with students from @NorthamptonHigh @NorwichHigh @BlackheathHigh @bromleyhs for our Inspire Conference. Thank you to all our speakers, and especially to our new sixth formers for being so brilliant. #WhereGirlsLearnWithoutLimits https://t.co/VZ3ubvX1Cz
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"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.” Carol Dweck, Stanford University 2012
Growth Mindset is one of the most powerful concepts in the psychology of learning to have arrived in the educational sphere in recent times. At Juniors, your daughter may have talked about this, from assemblies delivered, to displays throughout the school, an area in the library specifically targeted to challenging ‘fixed’ mindset, as well as some classes having trialled schemes of work specifically targeted at challenging fixed mindset during this academic year.
Growth Mindset is gradually becoming a key theme in our curriculum, delivery and culture here at Juniors. Alongside other projects and initiatives, this is one strand of developing your child into a resilient learner, equipped for the many challenges and threats that will present themselves during her life.
Carol Dweck’s research on the subject struck a very personal chord with me as my own thinking as a child was of a ‘fixed’ mindset, particularly with reference to specific subjects such as maths, and has given rise to what has effectively been a paradigm shift in my thinking with the recognition of how important future generations are lead away from this. As an educator, I believe that we are most passionate about those areas that were taught brilliantly to us as youngsters or those which we realise as adults were sorely lacking. Growth Mindset for me would most definitely fall into the latter category.
When a whole school is able to adopt a Growth Mindset in a successful, effective manner, it is not just the pupils who benefit. With a Growth Mindset, pupils, parents and staff subscribe to the fundamental tenet that intelligence can be grown. Research by Dweck has shown that girls are particularly susceptible to their own belief that their intelligence is fixed and incapable of improving. There is a tendency to think of failure as simply not being up to the task which is a fundamentally limiting point of view. Those labelled as ‘clever’ from a young age are particularly at threat as they fear losing this title and shy away from challenge which may lead to perceived failure or showing themselves as lacking in knowledge. Through application of a Growth Mindset system, children no longer have this limiting self-belief and come to the view that they have an infinite capacity to improve, or effectively “grow”. For teachers, a Growth Mindset can allow them to understand that they will succeed with all of their pupils. For parents, it is to be concerned less about advocating for their children to get better results and more about ensuring challenges in learning are in place both in and out of school that require their children to develop.
There has been a degree of subtlety to applying these principle to our culture at Juniors. It must be allowed to grow over time, testing out methods, working carefully to find what is most effective and those strategies which are less successful. We should guard against overuse of terminology to avoid eye-rolling and generalisations; ‘growth mindset fatigue’.
“Good teachers often know the importance of belonging, growth and positive affirmation. But they may not know the best ways to bring these about. Well-intended practices can sometimes even do more harm than good. At the same time, researchers may not always know the best way to make their interventions speak to students in a given class.” Yeager, Walton and Cohen 2013
One of the many benefits of being part of the GDST is belonging to a group of practitioners who can be part of a collaborative journey of teaching the psychology of learning. Best practice can be shared and common pitfalls avoided. The hasty approach of box-ticking the latest trend in education must be avoided at every cost, especially when dealing with an idea so powerful in its potential impact. One mistake is to encourage students to give “more effort” when they really need not only apply more effort but also change strategy. Effort is necessary but it is not the sole ingredient for success. Growth Mindset is not ‘anyone can do anything’ nor is it a quick fix or silver bullet.
“When confronted with continued failures despite heightened effort, students might conclude that they can’t succeed, sapping their motivation. Effective growth mindset interventions challenge the myth that raw ability matters most by teaching the fuller formula for success: effort + strategies + help from others.” Yeager, Walton and Cohen 2013