At South Bersted, we strongly believe in praising pupils’ efforts towards their learning. By using a growth mindset approach, our aim is to ensure that pupils embrace challenges, respond to next steps, learn from their mistakes and realise that with hard work and determination they can improve.

What is a Growth Mindset?

Carol Dweck is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation. She focuses on why people succeed and how to foster this success in schools.

In her research on motivation and achievement, Dweck introduces the idea of Mindset. Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your basic qualities such as your intelligence, your talents and your personality.

People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just given to them so people with this mindset worry about how adequate or inadequate they are instead of developing their traits. They believe that their talent alone creates success- without effort and they are reluctant to take on challenges.

People with a growth mindset, on the other hand see their traits as just the starting point and that these can be developed by dedication, hard work and effort. This view creates resilience and a love of learning.

When we encourage a Growth Mindset in children they then become enthusiastic learners. A Growth Mindset means that their intelligence can be developed, which has a positive effect on their motivation and subsequently their achievement. Dweck’s research shows that we produce confident learners when we praise students for the process they engage in and not for being bright, clever or talented.

Developing a Growth Mindset at South Bersted:

During collective worships and PSHCE lessons, pupils have been focusing on different areas of developing a growth mindset.

To introduce children to the concept of a growth mindset we shared the Class Dojo video during a collective worship.

The Power of the brain: during the collective worship we shared the book, ‘The Fantastic Elastic Brain’ that explains how our brains work and how scientists have discovered that the brain is just like a muscle. We also looked at how the pathway between neurons can be made stronger by practicing and persevering with a skill.

The Power of Yet: the word ‘ YET’ is about knowing that with grit, determination, perseverance, and practise we can turn ‘can’t’ into ‘can’t YET’ and then into ‘CAN!’

A key phase that we use across the school is “I can’t does nothing, I’ll try does something, I will works wonders.”

As a school we have looked at the growth mindset iceberg, and discussed how people do not always see the hard work that it takes to achieve our goals.

To further deepen our children’s understanding on the hard work it takes to achieve our goals we were visited by world scooting champion Jordan Clarke, who performed a range of stunts and spoke to the school about the importance of persevering to achieve your goals.

The Power of Making Mistakes: when challenging yourself it is likely that you will make mistakes. As a school we promote the importance of learning from our mistakes. When teaching using the growth mindset approach, it is important that pupils are encouraged to challenge themselves and reflect upon their learning. As part of our focus on learning from mistakes we have looked at a range of positive role models: Thomas Edison, Nelson Mandela and Albert Einstein.

The growth mindset approach links to how we mark children’s work and give feedback. We identify concepts and skills that pupils are developing: using a green highlighter, green for great and provide a clear next step for the child to develop using a pink highlighter, pink for think. Each day, pupils are provided with RAR (read and respond) time to edit, improve or develop a specific skill or part of their work. By responding and acting on their comments pupils will show an improved and deeper understanding of a set skill.

Children responding positively to next steps is demonstrated in the below video.

“If we don’t get it right the first time, we try again.

“It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake because you learn from them”

“Working hard and persevering means you will always improve.”