What is Growth Mindset?
At our school, we are working on promoting and developing a growth mindset in all of our pupils to support their well-being and learning.
A growth mindset is when an individual believes they can develop their intelligence. A pupil with a growth mindset knows that, through dedication and effort, they can become better.
This is in contrary to a fixed mindset. When an individual believes they cannot do anything to change their abilities. These pupils tend to avoid taking on challenges in favour of completing easier tasks to look clever.
We believe it is possible for all children to develop a growth mindset if proactive strategies are put into place in the classroom.
Growth Mindset strategies
A child’s perception of intelligence can be moulded by subtle environmental cues. Some phrases reinforce a fixed mindset: “That’s correct, you’re so good at maths”. Others lead towards a growth outlook: “you worked really hard to find the answer”
Using the word “yet” in the classroom helps transform attitudes. For example, “I can’t do this” becomes, “I can’t do this yet”.
When there’s only one right answer to a question, and pupils get it wrong, it can be really hard for them to believe they can change their abilities, so using open questions with children means pupils can see there are different approaches to tackling a problem, and that there is more to the subject than just the answer. Giving children time to think about their feedback and how it has helped them improve is important, and then get some pupils to share their examples as a model. This modelling will encourage the mindset that feedback is a positive, useful tool.
For pupils with a fixed mindset, challenge is scary: why risk being embarrassed by stumbling on a hard question? Framing challenges in a positive light – pupils should be aware that it is not just about getting it correct, but giving it a go. Avoid saying, “this task is really difficult” but use the power of yet. A powerful growth mindset message is that mistakes are an opportunity and a way of learning. Pupils should be encouraged to identify where they went wrong, learn from it and improve for next time. Pupils with a fixed mindset often think that other pupils do not have to try so it is important to emphasise the hard work all pupils are putting in to their work. There is a risk that putting too much emphasis on effort results in ineffective progress. Saying “great effort” when a child tries but gets things wrong must be followed up by equipping that pupil with strategies to improve.