What is Growth Mindset?
The term Growth Mindset was created by an American Professor, Carol Dweck. She developed the principle that people with a fixed mindset believe they are born with a certain amount of intelligence and that this cannot be changed. However, people with a Growth Mindset, know that intelligence is not fixed, and that by exercising your brain on a regular basis, you can effectively 'grow' your intelligence. This has been proven by scientific research!
So, we want the children at Westlands to understand that it is okay to be stuck, and that some of their best learning is done when they find things the hardest. Rather than simply praising success we praise effort and persistence.
We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. For children who find work easy we make sure they encounter more difficult tasks. Our children recognise that effort, persistence and good teaching are what help them improve.
There are two types of mindsets that children and adults can have, a ‘fixed’ mindset and a ‘growth’ mindset. Below is an overview of the traits of each:
- I like my work to be easy
- I don’t like to try a challenge
- I want people to praise me for how clever I am
- I believe I cannot change how clever I am
- I don’t like to try new things because I won’t be very good at it
- I give up easily
- I never give up
- I like my work to make me think hard – it means I am learning
- I love challenges
- I want people to praise me for the effort I put into my work
- I believe I can get more intelligent by working hard
- I feel clever when I’m learning something new
- I learn from my mistakes
Growth Mindset at Westlands
It has been proven that having a Growth Mindset can improve children’s progress and attainment. As a result, we are teaching our children that by having a Growth Mindset they can grow their brains and intelligence and achieve anything they want!
We praise effort not outcomes, then challenge the children to take their learning further. If children have fixed mindsets they find it hard to cope with failure: we teach our children to see mistakes and failure as positive. This makes for a very energetic and inclusive culture. It also has a really positive effect on our ethos and on how children approach learning and support each other.
Our school mascot, Pepe the Personal Power Penguin, embodies some of these learning behaviours and rewards them when they are seen in school.
How you can help at home
- Praise the amount of effort your child is putting into things and how hard they are thinking rather than how clever they are;
- Talk to your children about their brain being like a muscle - the more they use it, the stronger it gets;
- Encourage your children to not give up if they are finding something difficult;
- Use the language of the "Power of Yet," - there is no such word as can't, it's just they haven't achieved it 'yet!'
- Challenge your children to try something new or challenging.
Please feel free to share these videos with your children:
Brain Jump with Ned the Neuron
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain
This innovative and timely picture book teaches children that they have the ability to stretch and grow their own brains. It also delivers the crucial message that mistakes are an essential part of learning. The book introduces children to the anatomy and various functions of the brain in a fun and engaging way.
Mindset in the classroom: Building a culture of Success and Student achievement in Schools. By Mary Cay Ricci
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Mindset: Drive the Power of Habit from A Fixed Mindset to A Growth Mindset by Anna L. Matthews
Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential by Carol Dweck
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Jo Ann Deak