The following charts our journey at Huntington School in developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ culture. Follow the 10 point plan-take from this as you will!
- Initial Research
We spent several months of initial research focusing on;
How do we develop student motivation and raise aspirations at Huntington school?
We read every book we could find; talked to students and staff; worked with Zoe Elder (many thanks for the initial guidance) on shaping our vision and more importantly focused very squarely on our end goal. What did we find? See our initial results below, it makes interesting reading.
- Plan then plan again
Feed your initial findings into your planning. Plan and then plan again. Raise the status of the work by making it a whole school development priority. Don’t treat it as a woolly or fluffy piece of work that looks good on the surface but lacks substance. They said no posters please! Make people buy into it, we only have two whole school development plan strands. Give staff the responsibility to develop this aspect of pedagogy, we have invested in a Junior Leadership Team (JLT), provide them with training and make them accountable, ultimately trust them. Weave priorities into the Performance Development cycle. Expect all departments’ to show how whole school priorities feed into departmental work.
DEVELOPMENT STRAND DS2: How we will develop a Growth Mind-set throughout the school.
- Train your staff
2.30pm-4.30pm 15th July 2013 the last week of term –undertake initial training on the introduction to ‘Growth Mindset’ theory. Remember the naysayers (see diffusion of innovation model below), people thought we were mad!
Session 1: Whole school session led by the Headteacher-The message is clear we value this.
Session 2: Smaller more intimate groups led by the school’s Junior Leadership Team and supported by an SLT link.
- Get feedback from staff
Were we wrong training our staff then? See our staff feedback responses below and make your own decision.
‘You are in a Growth Mindset school; what does it look like…..feel like…..sound like….’
- Establish your starting point.
Use the attached questionnaire to establish a baseline by testing your students. Use this data to find your school average. Our school average is 3.98.We tested every student in the school and we have the evidence to prove it. We gave staff the opportunity to undertake the test, anonymously of course.
Remember Just knowing your Mindset score can change your way of thinking.
- Train your students
Train your staff to train your students. To adopt a more consistent approach to training we spent a considerable amount of time planning and implementing 2 x one hour training sessions with our students. See our bespoke training materials below.
- Get feedback from your students
We genuinely value the feedback from our students. We use their feedback to inform our planning. See some of their responses below. These were just a snap shot of the 200+ pages students generated from the training sessions. Some of the ‘effort based’ success stories were truly inspiring.
- Plan again in response to feedback
Use your staff and student feedback to inform your planning. Respond to what they say, people are more likely to ‘buy’ into your concepts. Take account of the ‘laggards’ see the diffusion of innovation model below.
See our A3 planning document term-by-term, fluid-like in its approach. We are constantly changing and modifying it to suit our school environment. Termly ‘mantras’ work well. Some of the work is very subtle and deals with developing subliminal messages to students. Lots of work goes into doing simple things really well.
How about this message appearing on every student computer, every time they log on; ‘Working harder makes me smarter’
- Look at the priorities
We responded to staff feedback by focussing closely on the way we write student reports. How do you write a Growth Mindset focussed report? Does it really matter what language you use when talking to students? Research shows that the subtleties of language leave an indelible imprint in our students’ minds. Focus on effort-based statements and avoid intelligence led language. Terms like ‘Gifted’ or ‘Talented’ are banned. Use our report writing help sheet as an aide memoire when writing your reports.
- Less is more
Originally we wanted to ‘change the world’ now we understand that less is VERY much more. Focus on doing the best you can really, really well. If we only do one thing well this year and we embed it into the culture and psyche of the whole school community, we will have been successful. Our main focus, for the remainder of this year is to work on ‘effective feedback’ strategies and embed DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time) into more lessons.
More to follow in less than 128 days!
‘Those with a growth mindset learn from people; people that help them improve by being honest and providing constructive feedback. They seek help from other people to ensure they develop and grow and, providing those who help them are of a growth mindset, they encourage and foster a love of learning’ Dweck
Please give me feedback it’s in the spirit of Dweck; be gentle this is all very new!