Growing your brain = Growth mindset!
Welcome to our Growth Mindset page. We hope it will help support positive attitudes towards learning and build high self-esteem in our children as well as offer guidance and suggestions for you at home.
Hopefully you have heard your child talking about ‘Growth Mindset’ in School and if you have had the opportunity to be in and around the school you will have seen some of the displays to encourage the children to develop a ‘Growth mindset’, but what does this really mean?
What Is Growth Mindset?
Research by American psychologist Professor Carol Dweck, of Stanford University, has shown that how we view ourselves as learners has a huge impact on what we are able to achieve. Therefore, the beliefs children have about intelligence, effort, and struggle impact the choices they make about their learning.
Aim to avoid making any mistakes and
Understands that intelligence can be
| Those with a Fixed Mindset:
· Avoid challenges so they do not fail
· View effort as a sign of failure
· Will give up easily when a task becomes hard
· Will only focus on grades given, not any useful feedback which is given to help improve the quality of work produced
· Believe intelligence is fixed e.g. “I’m not good at Maths”, “I can’t spell”
· Think “Why bother – I can’t do it!”
|Those with a Growth Mindset:
· View challenges as way of stretching their learning and growing their brain
· Understand that mistakes can lead to learning and will persist when things get difficult
· View effort as the path to success and mastery
· Will learn from feedback – “How can I improve?”
· Is able to persevere -“I struggle at maths but will improve!”
· Develops a positive attitude “I can’t do it yet!”
Dweck suggests that people broadly fall into one of two categories: those with a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset.
Research in neuroscience shows that brains can grow and that learning changes our brains. This is called neuroplasticity, which means that intelligence is not fixed, but can be developed. Beyond improved attainment, research also suggests that having a growth mindset has other advantages too, including coping better with change/transition, higher self-regulation, resilience and pro-social behaviours. There is also evidence suggesting that there are also mental health benefits – those with a growth mindset have been found to be less aggressive, with higher self-esteem and fewer symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
If you are interested in finding out more about Growth Mindset this link is useful:
At Whitehouse Primary School, we know that pupils who have a positive attitude towards their learning will make good progress and be successful. Therefore, we adopted the concept of Growth Mindset from September 2018; introducing the theories of Dr Carol Dweck to staff and pupils. 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.
We are determined to embed its ideas within our school ethos and nurture a Growth Mindset culture.
How do we promote a Growth Mindset at Whitehouse?
- Assemblies and dedicated lessons devoted to Growth Mindset to educate and inform
- PSHE sessions informing our children how to develop positive mindsets
- Marking comments and feedback to improve thinking and learning and to reflect a ‘Growth Mindset’ philosophy
- Children receive team points for displaying ‘Growth Mindset’ behaviours
- Mastery and a challenge focus within lessons
- ‘Growth Mindset Champions’ to acknowledge those children who are displaying growth mindset behaviours such as effort and persistence
- Growth mindset and team point rewards at the end of each term
Having been introduced to the concept of growth mindset, our children have participated in a range of activities to learn more about it and try to display a growth mindset in school (and at home) at all times. Pupils have dedicated Growth Mindset lessons where they are taught how their brains work and how new connections are formed when we try new things and practise them, over and over. 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 weekly 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.
What having a Growth Mindset means at Whitehouse Primary:
- 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 learn from each other
- We don’t compare ourselves with others, but we do learn from others
- We challenge ourselves – which really helps us make progress
- We take risks – we don’t limit ourselves by taking the easy option
- We remember that mastering something new feels so much better than doing something you can already do
- We join in as much as possible – and we learn so much more by being involved
- We remember that the brain is making new connections all the time – the only thing you need to ‘know’ is that we can learn anything with hard work, focus and perseverance!
How can you foster a Growth Mindset at HOME?
- Offer feedback and verbally praise your child for the skills, attitudes and processes they have used to reach an outcome: hard work, persistence, rising to a challenge, learning from a mistake etc. to develop resilience and see learning as something that builds their brain muscle rather than being just being “smart”, “brilliant” or “gifted”. Be proud of their persistence and willingness to learn from mistakes.
- Be a growth mindset role model. Be honest: how often do you say “I can’t (cook/sing/balance my bank account)” or “I’m terrible at (sports/spelling/public speaking)” as if there’s no hope for you? Make sure you’re sending the right message – maybe even take on something new! The children all know that in school we expect them to finish any sentence about something they are currently unable to do with the word “yet”!
- Encourage your child to forget taking the easy route (where little learning is done) and instead embrace challenges. A sheet full of questions he/she already knows the answers to won’t “grow their brain” like one deeper problem to solve (even if they don’t get the correct answer).
- Remember growth mindset isn’t just academic: it applies to many areas of life (athletic, musical and social). Having trouble getting the football into the net? Keep making mistakes on a guitar chord? Tried to initiate play with someone but it didn’t go well? Discuss strategies that could help and the next step for improvement.
- Discourage envy of peers, and talk to your child about what he or she can learn from others who appear more successful. While skills may come more easily to some, most often there’s a (possibly unseen) element of practice, persistence and hard work which leads to achievement.
Embracing a growth mindset is not always easy, but it can have a huge impact on your child…and perhaps on you, too!
For further information on how to encourage confident and resilient learners at home, have a look at some of the links below.