I have been a teacher for 26 years, a Headteacher for 11 years and, at the age of 50, this much I know about why we are developing Growth Mindset Learning tools.
If you always do what you‘ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. If you haven’t heard Henry Ford’s ubiquitous aphorism by now, I really cannot imagine where you’ve been these past few years. It’s such a cliché, but it is behind the conclusions drawn by Yeager, Walton and Cohen in their overview of research into the impact of Growth Mindset strategies in schools.
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Their conclusions are important for any of us developing a Growth Mindset in our schools:
Hard work alone is not enough. When I learnt how to play golf, I practised until my hands bled. But I always thought about the outcomes of my shots and would change things if a fault crept into my game. And I always had a coach; I knew what I was doing, but I needed an expert to point out to me any subtle failings in my game which I hadn’t identified. What I had to prevent, during my endless hours of belting balls up the practice ground, was ingraining faults. The same applies to our students. Whilst Growth Mindset emphasises the importance of hard work, the danger is dismaying students who work hard and don’t improve, who keep doing what they have always done and get what they’ve always got.
What we are realising is that a Growth Mindset culture and effective learning are as one. Consequently, at Huntington we are developing a range of Growth Mindset Learning TM tools. The tools will help students with the process, rather than just us exhorting them to make more effort. Watch this space…