One school had removed stickers replacing it with praise for effort which had led to children being more self- motivated. They no longer ask for stickers and are making more effort.
In another school the reward assembly had been changed to an effort assembly.
Another teacher had the superheroes learners displayed in school colours surrounded by words to describe what they do (e.g. listening, concentrating etc.). Children now know what makes a good learner and are more able to say what they need to do or could have done.
The impact of these strategies has been that children are more positive about learning, their self-esteem is rising and they make more effort.
One teacher has a white mouse and grey mouse to represent the mindsets and had found that lower achievers had greatly improved confidence as a result.
One teacher had a display of learning muscles and allowed children to choose the learning muscle from a particular lesson. This worked well initially with children using the muscles as they worked, heightening their awareness of how they learn. Enthusiasm waned after a while. It was suggested that there should perhaps be only one muscle for a day, so that there could be deeper exploration.
Another teacher had removed ability groups and instead given challenges for children to choose. To begin with children would not always choose the most appropriate task for them but they are learning to make better choices.
One teacher had a class learning diary, with children writing in every day what they had learnt.
Teachers felt that their change of praise language had had the most impact on children’s confidence as they were now more willing to share their work and feel proud of their achievements. They now see that challenge is a good thing.
The use of the visualiser had been very powerful in showing children’s work and helping them feel proud of all achievements.
There was some difficulty understanding the concept of the brain being like a muscle growing and they worried that your head might explode! However, the Dweck description of a taxi-driver’s brain growing in one place because of the knowledge learnt was understood.
One teacher had a successful approach to maths tests with some girls who were particularly scared of maths. He used the test as a starting point, then went through the test with the class then asked what did they now know which they didn’t know before. This then gave them a score of, say, 4 right which they didn’t have after the first go. The teacher used the analogy of taking bricks out of the wall every time something was understood. It was felt that breaking down tasks into manageable chunks meant that children were less likely to become overwhelmed.
Brighton and Hove
One school had created a story with Grumpy Bear and Grizzly Bear. Children say ‘Don’t give up – don’t be like the grumpy bear.’
The sorting celebrities from least to most clever activity had been tried, resulting in children realising that cleverness can be measured in different ways.
A growth mindset board had been created in one school for children to record when they have used a growth mindset. One child, after sports day said ‘I used my perseverance muscle all day!’
Another school has a story with Fixed Fred and Have-a-go George who are monkey puppets. The characters will face a series of obstacles and will have to use learning muscles.
Superheroes had also been developed with characteristics written in childspeak.
One school had the following acronym: H-hope, E-energy, R-reliance, O-optimism. Children identify which of these they are using.
In one class children chose a sloth for the fixed mindset and a cheetah for the growth mindset. Children talk about the mindsets using appropriate language.
Learning journals had been set up, with one school having properly implemented it. Children were being honest and reflective but it was all in the early stages.
Circle time had been used to talk to children about the brain, which had led to children motivating each other to growth their brain. Posters in classrooms provided a constant reminder.
One teacher taught the children Japanese numbers, which they thought would be very hard. They grew in confidence as they realised more neurons had been connected.
One school has ‘super learning days’ which has forced children to change their mindset.
One school had changed to mixed ability groupings which children had appreciated.
One child was upset about her art and said she couldn’t do it. She was reminded about the mindsets, said she could see she was fixed but was going to change. She said ‘I can do this’ then produced work she was proud of.
Brighton & Hove
Suzanne Morgan | email@example.com
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Anne Vickers | firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Wilson | email@example.com
Amy Parry | firstname.lastname@example.org