“Excellent subject knowledge combined with a wealth of experience to improve your teaching”

Charlotte Knowles, Cheltenham College

Designing a curriculum to develop Independent thinkers

Over 30 years ago, Carol Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students’ attitudes about failure. They noticed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks. After studying the behaviour of thousands of children, Dr Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

Changing your school culture

This course is designed to take a detailed look at how to develop a growth mindset culture in your school. We take the time to explore what growth mindset looks like and how it can be employed most effectively.

Fostering independent thinkers

The fundamental purpose of developing a growth mindset culture is to create independent thinkers & learners. During this course, we unpick a variety of techniques to ensure a full understanding of how a growth mindset can be purposefully implemented across a range of settings. We will dissect its impact on the school environment and explore pivotal examples of good practice.

INSET outline

The Impact of Praise and Feedback

The feedback teachers give students can influence their mindsets in surprising ways. For example, while praise for intelligence, such as “You’re so smart!” is considered by some to be motivating, research demonstrates that it can actually have a negative impact on student motivation and achievement. With this in mind we explore:

Who is the child we want to produce at the end of our education system and how does this fit with our curriculum and whole school ethos?

What does growth mindset look like currently in your school?

What does growth mindset really mean?

Techniques for developing a positive and engaging growth mindset culture.

Creating independent thinking:
● For pupils
● For staff
● For parents

The Impact of Teacher Mindsets

Studies have shown that educators with a fixed mindset about a pupil’s ability were more likely to judge students as having low potential than their growth-minded counterparts. Additionally, educators with a fixed mindset were more likely to comfort students about their perceived low abilities and apply kind strategies. They used “comfort-oriented” feedback, in which they told their students that their inability to succeed is okay and attempted to make work easier by lowering expectations. In a separate study, this comfort-oriented feedback was linked to lower motivation in students, as well as lower expectations for their own performance when compared with “strategy-oriented” feedback.

With this in mind, we consider how to best approach interaction with children of all abilities to help them realise their potential.

We also address the following issues and snapshot strategies to use in school:

· Metacognition
· Executive functioning skills
· Emotional control
· Impulse control
· Working memory
· Self-monitoring
· Planning and preparation
· Task initiation
· Organisation
· Resilience and risk-taking

Plenary and final reflections

Thinking about the future.

Reflections on growth mindset.

How does this ultimately impact the children in our school?

Planning for your next steps in school.

This course is part of a suite of courses applying research from cognitive science to the classroom through highly practical strategies – for more ideas see these further courses

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