Creating a Growth Mindset Culture at Blackley Academy
Teachers collaborate with their colleagues to share and cascade good practice and build positive learning strategies in the classroom They are always looking for ways to strengthen their own practice and learn from others. They have the mindset that all students can learn and succeed and have the dialogue and underpinning belief systems to put this into practice.
Support Staff focus on what pupils can and do achieve and work hard to encourage them to work independently and to move out of their comfort zone. Support staff are seen as an integral part of the learning zone within and beyond the classroom and there is great synergy between their contribution and that of the teacher.
Parents support their children’s learning both inside and outside the classroom. They work closely with teachers and have a positive attitude to their child’s ability to succeed. They worry less about summative outcomes and more on the process of learning, enjoyment and achievement.
Pupils are enthusiastic, hard-working, persistent and resilient learners. They understand what they need to do to progress and see failure as part of a learning journey. Pupils love learning and can articulate not only what they learn but also how they learn.
Growth Mindset at E-Act Blackley Academy
From September 2016, E-Act Blackley Academy will be encouraging pupils to develop a Growth Mindset. It is worth emphasising that a Growth Mindset is not a new course but an approach to school and lifelong learning. Research by Developmental Psychologist Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford University points to people having one of two mindsets: Growth and Fixed.
“In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”- Dweck
A child’s belief about intelligence is an important factor in whether they become an effective learner so being open to their potential for growth is important for success. Although most people will undoubtedly have a mixture of these mindsets in different aspects of their life, Dweck’s research highlights very important evidence that most teaching professionals would instantly recognise in their class. From a practical point of view, staff would recognise pupils with a fixed mindset who are scared to contribute to class discussion for fear of looking stupid; who take one bad test result as a sign that they cannot do the subject, are going to fail and therefore give up; who will not try anything new for fear of getting it wrong; who will persevere with the same approach to their learning even when it is not working rather than being creative and finding a different solution. The school’s goal of developing a Growth Mindset within pupils is designed to remove such barriers to learning as the youngsters will begin to understand, accept and believe they can grow their ability rather than being told they can by parents and teachers.
Research suggests that the best methods to allow youngsters to believe in their ability to grow are as follows:
- Being open and frank about growth. e. making everyone aware of what they can achieve by adopting the mindset.
- Using feedback and praise designed to promote and highlight their ability to grow through effort, planning and commitment.
- Showing pupils that their brain and body can physically achieve more through training and effort.
- Giving clear and inspirational examples of others who have used their Growth Mindset to great effect.
- The opportunity for pupils to think about and write about their mindset.
As you can imagine, hearing a consistent message in this approach is crucial to success therefore, staff in the school will be adopting these methods as often as possible. However, it is important that the same message is heard at home so we would encourage parents to try to engage their children with these themes.