Monday, 20 April 2015

Growth Mindset

I've read quite a bit about the importance of cultivating a growth mindset and Carol Dweck's work and heard her talk in Edinburgh and seen her popular TED video clip so I wasn't too sure if it was worth readingt her book. However, having been exasperated at myself and my negative self-talk when it came to my running I thought I could probably do with a Growth Mindset boot camp and bought her book ("Mindset" by Carol Dweck, 2006). I thought it was really worthwhile and if you were only going to read one CPD book this year, I would recommend this one.

I really liked this diagram:

Some points that I made a note of were:

The link between attachment disorder and a fixed mindset.
How sometimes it's just more comforting to maintain a fixed mindset.
We can shift between one mindset and the other and it will probably be different for different areas, e.g. many people believe they can't get better at drawing.
A fixed mindset means that we are less open to constructive feedback.

During a plenary or at the end of the day is a good time to promote a growth mindset with pupils, and Dweck recommends asking these sort of questions: “What did you learn today?
What mistake did you make that taught you something? What did you try hard at today?”

Discussing how to deal with children who are displaying a fixed mindset she says, "When your fixed-mindset son tells stories about doing things better than other children, everyone says, “Yeah, but what did you learn?” When he talks about how easy everything is for him in school, you all say, “Oh, that’s too bad. You’re not learning. Can you find something harder to do so you could learn more?” When he boasts about being a champ, you say, “Champs are the people who work the hardest. You can become a champ. Tomorrow tell me something you’ve done to become a champ.” Poor kid, it’s a conspiracy. In the long run, he doesn’t stand a chance!"

She believes we should ask ourselves, "What are the opportunities for learning and growth today? For myself? For the people around me?" And having done that and thought of the opportunities, formed a plan, and asked oneself: "When, where, and how will I embark on my plan?" Stirring stuff, and I'm sure she probably does do that.

Today was our first day back at school after the holidays and I tried to start putting some of the ideas into practice. As part of our discussions on our success criteria for our art lesson I included two extra questions, which were: Can you stick at the task even though it's tricky? Did you learn from a mistake (slashed out) learning opportunity? And there was a lot of good talk about these ideas.