The Next Stage

Having identified students as involved in most cases rather than engaged we focussed our efforts upon a workable whole school approach.  It was at this juncture that we decided to embrace Dweck’s growth mindset research and design an implementation structure.  Dweck herself admits that there is no clear cut way of moving a school’s mindset and that successful case studies are hard to come by.

The research and implementation group was a body know as the JLT led by Stephen Foreman and Chris Hardwell.  We decided upon a number of elements that together would have impact and allow a growth mindset culture to be analysed and most importantly measured.  These were:

  1. Measuring the mindset of staff and students
  2. Whole staff training in the growth mindset
  3. Training of the students in the growth mindset
  4. Introducing a celebration culture into Huntington School with a focus on growth mindset traits
  5. A leadership programme
  6. A change in the feedback processes
  7. Renewed focus upon the core values of Huntington: respect, honesty and kindness
  8. Developing the why of learning

Changing School Culture?

What if as a school, our core aim was to nurture the growth mindset to all students, an aim which permeated every lesson, every challenge, the walls, corridors. If students were constantly challenged about their learning beliefs, what might they become?

(The Huntington School Research Project)

‘Improving Student Motivation’

The outcomes from our research and background reading identified 16 separate criteria all linked to developing student motivation at Huntington school. They are as follows;

Feedback – Goal setting – Leadership – Staff training/development – Challenge – Relationships – Value of learning – Assessment for learning – Questioning – Grouping -Effort = success criteria – The motivating classroom – Praise – Learning skills – Attitudes to learning – The successful learner

The research also showed that the majority of students at Huntington School currently fall into the involved category of motivation.


Characteristics of different learners


  • Not goal focused.
  • Does the bare minimum.
  • Can go off task with ease.


  • Aware of the objectives/outcomes.
  • Works on what is required.
  • Can and usually does fulfil learning criteria.


  • In control; possibly independent.
  • Wants to shape future learning.
  • Body language displays clear enjoyment/interest.
  • Keen to respond to open ended questions and enquiry questions.
  • Will lead independent group work: capable of structuring long tasks and leading peers.
  • Self-efficacy = belief in our ability to succeed.
  • ‘SEGA’ factor-self efficacy in goal achievement.
  • Think of their ability as changeable.
  • Motivated students have high levels of curiosity.
  • Set specific goals with some degree of difficulty.
  • ‘Improve yourself’ attitude to learning.



How do we meet our core purpose and move from involved learners to engaged learner?


Radically change the culture of Huntington School and develop learners who are not just involved in learning but are truly engaged in the learning culture of the school.

The definition of the ‘engaged’ student above has all the key theoretical principles of a ‘Growth Minset’ culture. This will therefore shape our thinking on developing aspects of student motivation.

The following extract embodies what we believe;

What If as a school, our core aim was to nurture the growth mindset to all students, an aim which permeated every lesson, every challenge, the walls, corridors. If students were constantly challenged about their learning beliefs, what might they become?

Through more than three decades of systematic research, [Carol Dweck] has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.

The fundamentals of developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ culture (research findings)

  • SEGA factor – Self Efficacy in Goal Achievement (Our belief in achieving a goal).
  • Mastery Mindset or Mastery performance mindset.
  • Self-efficacy-belief in our ability to succeed
  • Think of their ability as changeable/Teach students to think of their ability as changeable
  • Promote a learning and growth culture –self motivation
  • Outcomes should always include intuitive descriptors and be linked to growth mindsets.
  • Performance goal is to look smart-mastery goal is to get smarter.
  • Performance goal is concerned with measuring ability-mastery goal is to master new skills and is growth seeking.
  • Demotivation is predicted by a combination of fixed-ability ideas and low-competence beliefs.
  • Keep going when things get difficult.
  • Learn from criticism and see mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Possess a desire to learn and embrace new challenges.
  • Understand that effort is linked to outcome.

Our Values;

Effort, perseverance, resilience, tenacity, learning, feedback,

positive relationships, praise.