Another teacher had introduced the superhero teddies and had found that children were thinking more about the way in which they are learning, becoming more independent learners. She had also changed her praise language to exclude ability.
Teachers said that learning was now more focused around growth and fixed mindsets. One teacher had created a board with captions for each mindset. Children were invited to write in empty speech bubbles on the growth mindset side any achievements they had had.
Showing an example of good and not so good writing has led to children coming up with the skills they needed to improve.
Most teachers felt that the language of learning muscles was too difficult for this age group, although one teacher had introduced the 5 R’s from Guy Claxton’s Building Learning Power (the school had added ‘Respect’) and had found that children were more able to problem solve as a result of exploring concepts such as perseverance.
Teachers had used puppets, mice and Harry the happy hedgehog to represent the growth and fixed mindsets. They felt that some children responded positively, but others used the fixed mindset as an excuse for not working. Children with autism really responded well. Overall children were seen to be putting in more effort.
Teachers were emphasising praise of achievement or processes of learning. One teacher had ‘cheers and celebrations’ with the whole school involved in creating continual praise to children via various invented hand movements and sounds (e.g. send your partner a woosh, bomb, candyfloss, clap etc.) This had led to greater self-esteem.
Another school had shown the children footage of neurons connecting which had led to children saying when they felt their brain ‘ping’.
One teacher had used boy and girl puppets to represent the mindsets and thought in future they should be neutral to avoid negative stereotyping.
Another school had purchased a squidgy plastic brain, which was named ‘Brian the Brain’, used to discuss how the brain grows. Children were encouraged to tell someone if they were having a growth or fixed mindset and they had used this language at home, demonstrated by parents asking teachers questions about the mindsets.
A book called ‘Maths Together’ featured a problem solving white mouse, which one teacher had used to help children be like the white mouse.
Brighton and Hove
Most teachers had created a story with fixed and growth characters. Children refer to them and are able to identify their own behaviour in relation to the characters. Lists had been made of what makes a good learner.
One school has ‘Mr. I can’t and Mr. I can try. Children respond very positively to this and use encouraging remarks to each other.
One teacher has created a fixed mindset Dog who the class is trying to turn into growth mindset. This has led to ‘If Chuck can do it, so can I’.
Circle time had been used to see examples of stretching brains and relate the brain to their muscles. One teacher reported a gradual shift from fixed to growth for one high achieving child. It was agreed that higher achievers have to make the biggest changes as they don’t like to leave their comfort zone.
One teacher had the idea of our learning through life as like lots of car journeys, with various obstacles and experiences: traffic lights (stuck), going up or down hill, everyone getting to the same destination at different times etc. Children now have greater awareness that learning never finishes and talk about their learning (‘I’m at a roundabout’ rather than ‘I can’t’).
A learning journal had been set up in some classes, which revealed by the entries made, that the higher achievers have a fixed mindset.
The ordering celebrities task (order these 5 celebrities from least to most clever)was used which helped children develop a better self image.
It was agreed that the learning muscles work, focusing on one a day etc. should not be bolt on but included in every lesson. Children are getting more articulate in talking about their learning.
Brighton & Hove
Suzanne Morgan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Anne Vickers | email@example.com
Paul Wilson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Parry | email@example.com