Brookfield Community School (BCS) Sharing Practice

Developing a Growth Mindset Culture – Afternoon INSET

The work of Carol Dweck focusing on the mindset of students in the classroom is an extremely important area of research.  Helping students make the change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset was the topic of discussion of our first afternoon INSET this year.  With contributions from John Fenlon, Jennifer Phillips, David Fawcett and our Head Girl Emily Tout, a number of ideas and strategies were shared to help create a Growth Mindset culture.

Emily Tout – Why Growth Mindset is important for students

In this session, Head girl Emily Tout explained why students should be aware of Growth Mindset and explained ways in which teachers could integrate it into classrooms.


Jennifer Phillips –  Growth Mindset and a ‘can do’ culture

In this session, Jennifer Phillips explained how she applies effective classroom strategies to promote independence and Growth Mindset in her classroom.  Here are some of the highlights:

Prove to the kids that they can do it; use specific examples whether in the past, verbally or retakes. Don’t just tell them, it is meaningless.

Praise process rather than outcome; they feel like they have achieved and it is the process that gets you there anyway.

Ensure that language is reinforcing the belief that they are in control, rather than being fixed; even when praising, avoid “you are great at that” change to praise specific effort and resilience to model for class and move away from “effort” being a tactful way of saying not good enough.

Always give an opportunity to improve and grow-DIRTY time and retaking assessments. they know clearly what they need to do and can see the effect.

Questions are just as important as answers, it is not always about getting it “right”.

Encourage a personal best and avoid comparing to others as this can dishearten and seem unachievable or lead to coasting

David Fawcett – Don’t just ‘do’ Growth Mindset

In this session, teacher David Fawcett explains why we shouldn’t just say we ‘do’ Growth Mindset.  It’s not about simply having an assembly or displaying a poster on your wall.  It is the constant things we do day in day out to promote a Growth Mindset that is important.  Here are some of the points raised:

Avoid seeing ‘Growth Mindset’ as the silver bullet of education.  Please don’t say you ‘do’ Growth Mindset otherwise it becomes an add on, fad or buzz word.  Instead build it as part of your everyday classroom culture.

Set challenge high so that learning is meaningful.  Avoid making tasks easier or assigning ‘all/must/some’ objectives as this limits challenge for all.

Model what excellent work looks like so students can aspire to achieve higher standards

Use self-reported grades with students so they begin to set themselves targets and evaluate their progress.

Encourage resilience/responsibility within learning through strategies such as 4B’s and stuck walls.  When a student says they ‘Can’t do this…..’, follow up with ‘yet!’.

Use DIRT time and critique so students can see how re-drafting, amendments and acting upon feedback improve work

Use a visualiser or images of students work so the class can collaboratively improve it.  Demonstrate how to make work better.

John Fenlon – Assessment and growth mindset

In this session, John Fenlon explains how to use assessments as a way to develop growth mindset, and make a shift away from the usual fixed mindset nature of them.  His tips for making this move are:
Change the experience of assessments ‘TOP 4 TIPS’:
Make them
More commonplace.
Low stakes
No grades
Students track scores.
Only progress matters – have they improved on last time?
Praise effort – not attainment.
Prove to students they are making progress:
Use the same questions over and over.
Reward progress with merits and shouting from the rooftops.
Distributed learning – use the same quiz 1 week, 1 month etc later