One school introduced a challenge bull’s eye. Children were asked to choose a mild, spicy or hot challenge then were asked how they felt. Children who had chosen something too hard said they felt hot, sick, and so on. Children learnt to use the right language ‘It was too challenging for me’, ‘My brain hurt a bit because it was the right challenge’. A Year 1 child said ‘If the work is at the right challenge I will have to think hard and move up the ladder.’ Children now understand the zones.
The school had a staff meeting and other classes followed suit. One Year 6 child said ‘That’s the first time I have really enjoyed maths and known that I was really good at it.’
With child-initiated activities they are using the language of challenge and are able to challenge each other.
Teachers showed their classes YouTube clips of neurons connecting and talked to them about this. Children understood that they were in charge of their own learning and realised that they could change that control. They were fascinated and intrigued.
Stories such as ‘Giraffes can’t dance’ were used, resulting in the whole class supporting each other and making suggestions to help each other. Real people’s stories showed that real people had to work hard to succeed too.
Displays such as ‘I can’t do it…YET!’ helped children become more committed to learning.
There were also YouTube clips of fixed/growth mindset characters in action and teachers used roleplay and puppets to depict the mindsets. Children could relate to the puppets/actors/online characters and wanted to help them. It helped the children realise there is a wider picture and learning is not just a closed tunnel.
Teachers used inspirational real-life stories/historical figures who never gave up such as Florence Nightingale, Grace Darling, Thomas Clarkson and Octavia Hill as local heroes. ‘Determined’ became a key word.
The learning powers were brainstormed so that children knew what successful learning looked like.
Fiona Large | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicola Parker | email@example.com