What is Growth Mind-set?
Professor Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, found that we all have different beliefs about the underlying nature of ability.
Children (and adults!) with a growth mind-set believe that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort, persistence, trying different strategies and learning from mistakes. They believe that they can get better at something by practising, so when they’re faced with a challenge, they become more and more determined to succeed, wanting to persevere and overcome knock-backs. They are not threatened by hard work or failure. Children with a growth mind-set use setbacks to motivate them. Children encouraged to adopt a growth mind-set enjoy challenges and the sense of achievement they get when they succeed.
Researchers have found that building a growth mind-set helps children at school; making them more motivated, more engaged in the classroom and likely to receive higher marks and greater rewards from their work.
“Our studies show that teaching people to have a ‘growth mind-set’, which encourages a focus on effort rather than intelligence or talent, helps make them into high achievers in school and in life.” Carol Dweck.
Growth Mind-set within our school…
At Glasllwch Primary School we believe that teaching a growth mind-set creates an ethos for learning which increases motivation, promotes perseverance, develops confidence and enhances relationships.
In school your child will be encouraged to use a Growth Mind-set to help them develop their capacity to learn across all elements of the curriculum. In each classroom we have a class Learning Pit which the children have been involved in creating. The children use the Learning Pit to talk about their learning journey and to identify with different stages of learning that they may experience. For example, a child who feels they are in the ‘Learning Pit’ might be feeling ‘stuck’ or ‘challenged’ by the task ahead of them; with the support of their peers, a member of staff, trying an alternative strategy and being determined to succeed, a child will climb out of the Learning Pit and feel proud of their success and achievement. As an integral aspect of all of our teaching and learning we encourage children to enter the ‘Learning Pit’, to take on challenges, take risks and through effort and determination over come these challenges.
Some examples of our class Learning Pits can be seen below…
How we celebrate a Growth Mind-set in school…
Within school your child will be encouraged to reflect on their approach to learning and strategies they have used to overcome challenges. They will be provided with oral and written feedback from both teaching staff and their peers acknowledging how they have, for example: taken a risk, put in a lot of effort, tried an alternative strategy, overcome a challenge, shown a positive attitude, shown determination and persistence.
Your child may be awarded Dojos or Stickers in class and around school for demonstrating a some of these behaviours. They may also be awarded a Growth Mind-set ‘leaf’ in Celebration Assembly on a Friday —their leaf will be stuck onto our school Growth Mind-set trees for everyone to see!
Growth Mind-set – How you can help your child…
- TALK ABOUT IT. Talk with your child about their day, but guide the discussion by asking questions like: What did you learn today? Did you make a mistake today? What did you do that was difficult today?
- PRAISE THE PROCESS. Instead of saying, “You’re so smart!” praise effort, goal setting, persisting through challenges, or being creative. You can say something like: “Wow! You must have worked really hard on this!”
- THE BRAIN CAN GROW! Remind your child that their intelligence is not fixed. Remind them that when things are difficult, their brain grows if they persist through the challenge. Each time they learn something new, their brain is making new connections. Your child needs to know this is possible!
- HELP THEM CHANGE THEIR DIALOGUE. The way your child talks to themselves makes a huge impact on their mind-set. If they say “This is too hard!” help them to change that to “I can’t do this yet, but I will keep trying.” Give them the words to say when they are feeling defeated y modelling it yourself!
- ENCOURAGE FAILURE. Your child needs to know that failure can (and often does) happen and it is okay! Remind them that each time they fail and try again, their brain is growing stronger! Don’t step in to prevent your child’s failure—this is how they learn to persevere in the face of challenges.
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