Vandyke Launches 'Growth Mindset'

Published on 11 July 2016

Vandyke Launches 'Growth Mindset'

Following our review of values in the academic year 2015-2016 a clear message was communicated by staff,  parents and governors; some students lack confidence in their ability to learn. Their fear of failure can undermine  any attempts made by teachers to promote independent learning or critical thinking in lessons. These students can instead feel they need excessive support and scaffolding to accomplish tasks. This realisation led us to a theory which will now inform our continual development of core values within our students: the Growth Mindset.

The Growth Mindset is a theory expounded by Carol Dweck.  Dweck is one of the world's leading researchers in the field of motivation. Her research has focused on why people succeed and how to foster success. Her theory is that many students have a ‘fixed mindset’, where they  believe their basic abilities, their intelligence and their talents are just fixed traits. Students with this mindset pursue looking “smart” all the time and fear being seen to “fail”. Contrastingly, students with a Growth Mindset believe that intelligence can be improved and that education can bring about fundamental changes in intelligence. They don’t necessarily think that everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get “smarter” if they work at it.

Students were introduced to this theory in an assembly delivered by Mr Adams earlier this year. The theory represents the motivational approach we already take in preparing students for exams and arguably as a school we demonstrate some truly great practice in this area already. Countless students are great role models with ‘growth mindset’ evident in their resilient approach to work. Many staff are strong practitioners in this area by designing opportunities for students to take risks in their lessons and more importantly allowing students to learn from failure.  The priority over the next 3 years will be to develop students’ capacity for growth and critical thinking in order  to expand their confidence in their academic ability.

With the removal of controlled assessment tasks for many GCSE qualifications along with the evidently increasing  rigour of examinations the staff team and students will be working hard to meet this challenge together.

Mrs Quinn