Sunday, 11 January 2015

Growth Mindset - Carol Dweck

What type of person are you as a teacher or the kids in your class? 
If we are asking students to have this positive Growth Mindset then we need to be looking first at ourselves and how we model it in class and daily life.

Fixed Mindset: 
  • spend time trying to prove their ability
  • see success as a result of ability
  • avoid challenges or risk for fear of failure
  • want friends who would make them feel good
  • think that mistakes or failure reflect on their self worth
  • crash and burn after failure
  • sees criticism as an attack on self worth
  • compare themselves to others
  • feel tense and nervous about exposing their weaknesses
  • say "This is too hard, I'm giving up."
Growth Mindset:
  • believe they can develop their ability
  • see success as a result of effort
  • know their strengths, weaknesses and next steps for learning
  • actively taking steps to improve their character, relationships and learning
  • see failure as a chance to learn 
  • selects friends who would encourage them to get better
  • look for opportunities for challenge 
  • bounce back after failure
  • sees criticism as a learning tool
  • compare themselves to past attempts
  • take a risk and try new things
  • say "I don't get this, can you help me?"
  • say "This is really hard and it is fun."
There are some things that stood out for me as an educator and learner. 
More of them are incorporated in to my action based on the headings in Matt Bromley's Blog.

To me as the Teacher:
1. Praise for effort not ability.
2. Teacher belief, mindset, negative labels or stereotypes powerfully affect learning - developing a Growth Mindset helps us combat this negativity.
3. Honest constructive feedback promotes growth.
4. A disciplined and nurturing environment is essential.
5. Teach learners how to learn or improve - demystify the process.
6. Growth Mindset teachers are always learning themselves.

So What!  How could this look in my classroom for 2015?

1. Use frequent formative feedback
  • Teacher and peer conferences with constructive comments - one positive, one next step
  • Knowledge of personal targets and next steps - unpack the 'How to' or 'Looks like'
  • Students can select learning activities according to target - Daily 5 activities, Maths Google Site
  • Personal evaluation on daily targets tracked in Learning Journal / Planner
  • Build up a picture of the student from many different sources.
2. High levels of challenge for every student

  • Class chart: Work harder, grow smarter!
  • Expose kids to challenging vocabulary, concepts and literature. They can't learn about what they have never experienced.
  • Students opt into a range of needs based workshops.
3. Explicitly welcome mistakes
  • Speech bubbles around the class: What went wrong? What can I learn from it?
  • Constantly take the time to model how to unpack mistakes and look for the learning. 
4. Engaging in deliberate practice
  • In Waka Stride we are becoming.. kids to shout out all the things we are becoming like: fast at my 3x tables, accurate at editing my writing, a kind and 'bucket filling' friend.
  • Activities are clearly sorted so learners can select the one that supports their own target - Maths Google Site.
  • To start Daily 5 reading, writing or maths sessions learners will state their target and the activity they will do to help achieve it to a buddy or teacher.
5. Reward effort not attainment
  • Daily round up - kids and teacher recommend people for effort, showing Independent Learner skills, trying again - being resilient…. A great opportunity to use the language of learning.
  • Class reward system is collaborative and based on co-constructed criteria which will include: be resilient, use AKO - other students as teachers, use different strategies etc.


  1. Allana, I always enjoy reading your blog posts and am in awe of your endless energy! Great post on planning/thinking for 2015

  2. Hi Allana, SOO great to catch up with you today. We really must make sure we do that more often! Thanks so much for sharing this post. Great questions. Exciting times ahead for you and your learners!!!
    Anne K

  3. Hi Allana
    Very fortunate learners coming into your environment in 2015! I have also been looking at how Growth Mindsets will enhance our school environment in 2015 - with permission I would like to share aspects of this blog with my staff at Kaiapoi North?

    1. Sure thing Mr Miles. You are most welcome. :)


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