New year, growth mindset

With 2017 drawing to a close, we are presented with a brilliant opportunity to re-focus priorities and set challenges for the year ahead.

At Big Change we believe that fostering a growth mindset is invaluable – learning new skills and taking part in experiences outside of your comfort zone can be really challenging but very rewarding. 

Having a growth mindset is all about embracing problems as opportunities to learn and grow, instead of fearing failure. 

Holly Branson, Big Change, school visit 2016, Adam Slama

The Guardian recently reported on practical tips for a growth mindset you may not have tried yet, discussing why a growing number of schools are investing in the theory of growth mindset.

A recent survey found that 98 per cent of teachers believe that if their students have a growth mindset it will lead to improved student learning”, it said. 

The article praises the work of Carol Dweck, her growth mindset theory and the success it has had across schools to date. It’s a theory that we are wholly invested in at Big Change, and an attitude that undoubtedly influences how I approach obstacles and challenges in my own life too.

It’s brilliant to think schools are actively supporting young people to develop a growth mindset. Even more so that many teachers not only understand the importance of fostering a growth mindset, but also want more training to ensure they have practical strategies to support their young people in doing so.

The Guardian piece goes on to share some brilliant techniques that give an insight into how to best foster a growth mindset. I’ve summarised them below, but I really recommend you read the full article too:

  • Encourage different ways of thinking and problem-solving – allowing young people think outside the box and feel confident in their ability, even if it follows a different approach to the suggested.
  • Find the balance between educating and enforcing – be stealthy. “Stealthy approaches don’t feel controlling and don’t stigmatise students as in need of help, which could do more harm than good”.
  • Engage parents – according to research, despite there being no clear link between a parent’s mindset and their  child’s, there is when it comes to how they react and respond to setbacks. Approaching failure as a positive step within learning, and encouraging and motivating is a practice children will retain.
  • Check your own growth mindset – there’s lots of ways to respond to a young person’s failures, and how you do can mean the difference between them wanting to try again, or losing confidence or interest. According to a research paper posed to teachers, responses with a “comfort focus” were reported to be less motivating than those with a “strategy focus”, suggesting ways to try again and improve.

Holly Branson, Big Change, school visit 2016, Adam Slama

It’s definitely worth reading the article in full to delve into these tips in more depth and see examples too – new year, growth mindset!

I hope you've all had a wonderful festive season with loved ones and have a very happy New Year,

Holly x

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