From time to time there are big themes in schools that everyone seems to be talking about. Growth Mindset, made famous by Carol Dweck’s research, is a good example. If you had gone into schools 5 or 10 years ago, you’d have witnessed excitement about a body of work that educators all over the world recognised as having the potential to dramatically improve outcomes for all children.
Teachers started to reconsider preconceived ideas about innate intelligence and operate instead on the assumption that achievement was more to do with your mindset and the associated behaviours for learning. They learnt that fixed mindset language (bright, gifted, talented) limited opportunities and contributed to a culture where struggle was something to be ashamed of. Many were keen to review how they shaped learning so that children were more willing to sustain the necessary effort and more optimistic about their ability to get cleverer.
It’s not unusual for schools to lose interest in themes that have enjoyed attention for a while – perhaps to make way for new ideas, perhaps because the research never really stacked up in the first place or because the cost of implementing the idea didn’t justify its impact. Educators who ‘did’ Growth mindset a few years back have not consciously rejected it. If you asked them most would say that they still believe in its value. But perhaps because of other pressing agendas it has undoubtedly been reduced to an unhelpfully simplistic idea that success will come to anyone who is willing to make the effort.
When I meet with teachers and leaders the message I’m hearing over and over again is that our children have never been so in need of our efforts to build their resilience. If we are to ensure ‘recovery’ from the recent pandemic we cannot afford to let research as important as ‘Growth Mindset’ be allowed to sit in the archives. It needs instead to kept at the fore of our minds where it can inform the kind of learning opportunities that will best prepare our children to thrive no matter what the challenges that lie ahead.
Click here to read more about training for ‘Building Resilient Mindsets’ or to sign up for a *free new year inspirational short workshop*. If you are interested in bespoke CPD for your school please message Lizzie via the Contact page.