St George's Primary School Portland

Growth Mindset

Grow Your Brain

Welcome to our Growth Mindset page. We hope this will help you to support positive attitudes towards learning and high self-esteem in children at home, just as we are doing in school.

Carol Dweck is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation. She focuses on why people succeed and how to foster this success in schools.

In her research on motivation and achievement, Dweck introduces the idea of Mindset. Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your basic qualities such as your intelligence, your talents and your personality.

People with a fixed mindset believe that their traits are just given to them so people with this mindset worry about how adequate or inadequate they are instead of developing their traits. They believe that their talent alone creates success- without effort and they are reluctant to take on challenges.

People with a growth mindset, on the other hand see their traits as just the starting point and that these can be developed by dedication, hard work and effort. This view creates resilience and a love of learning.

When we encourage a Growth Mindset in children they then become enthusiastic learners. A Growth Mindset means that their intelligence can be developed which has a positive effect on their motivation and subsequently their achievement. Dweck’s research shows that we produce confident learners when we praise students for the process they engage in and not for being bright, clever or talented.

You may have heard your children talking about how they can’t do it YET! We want the children to understand that it is okay to be stuck, and that some of their best learning is done when they find things the hardest.

Some key aspects of Growth Mindset at St. George’s

  • We remember it’s always OK to make mistakes – we learn from them.
  • We never give up! We try a different approach, or use a different strategy.
  • We learn from each other – children can make great teachers!
  • We don’t compare ourselves with others, but we do learn from others.
  • We challenge ourselves – which really helps us make progress.
  • We take risks – we don’t limit ourselves by taking the easy option.
  • We join in as much as possible – and we learn much more by being involved.
  • We remember that mastering something new feels so much better than doing something you can already do.
  • We remember that the brain is making new connections all the time – the only thing you need to know is that you can learn anything if you really want to!

If you would like to know more about the theory behind our approach we have included some links below and a suggested children’s reading list.

  • The Power of Believing You Can Improve – a TED talk featuring Professor Carol Dweck speaking about the power of ‘Yet’, her research, failure, fixed and growth mindset, attitudes, how to praise, challenge and a little bit of science.
  • Mindsetworks – a website full of information about what growth mindset looks like at school, at home, the science behind it, and how it can be implemented.
  • The Effort Effect – an article called The Effort Effect written by an American journalist. An interesting read which starts with an example of mindset within an English football team.
  • Growth Mindsets: Help Your Child Try New Things – A great link to understanding growth mindset and the impact it has on children. This is a link for parents but there are also links for children including ‘Wussywat the Clumsy Cat’ – a cat who tries things even if he doesn’t understand them, he just keeps trying until he does.
  • Growth Mindset Animation – a four minute animation on the theory of growth and fixed mindset – good for adults and children with a simple animation based on the tortoise and the hare.

Suggested books that promote Growth Mindset:

  • The Dot by Peter H Reynolds
  • Ish by Peter H Reynolds
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by JoAnn Deak
  • Beautiful Oops! By Barney Saltzberg
  • The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Gary Rubinstein
  • The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright
  • What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada
  • How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers
  • Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty
  • The Tortoise and the Hare by Janet Stevens
  • Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka