Midlothian (included sec ASN)
In one school children were surveyed and the data used to make changes to homework, seating, random partners and extrinsic rewards.
In two schools there was a no homework policy which caused less stress and made no impact on children’s spelling results. Removing rewards was challenging to do in a small school with a whole school system. House points have been shelved in one school and behaviour has slipped as a result. Teachers did not know if this was to do with the time of year (end of summer) or missing the reminder that points brought.
Teachers of ASN kept house points linked to behaviour and felt that it had a positive impact, built self-esteem and worked with a class of only 6 children. Star of the week was still kept for these children, rotating.
“We organised a pupil survey. Homework:
• Stressful for parents
• Children did not complete to the same standard as they would in class
• Caused discourse when not handed in – children had ‘consequences’
• It was time consuming to prepare and mark
• Wrote a letter to parents to explain the rationale
• Did an initial 6 week trial
• Introduced Personal Development Time to offer opportunities for children to practise their skills, twice daily focusing on spelling, handwriting, maths and reading. Children chose their area daily to meet their personal needs.
• Children still have a daily reading card which is self-monitored.
• Maths homework is ‘Times Tables Rockstars’ online and children’s times tables test results have rocketed, although we are unsure if this is due to homework or daily testing.
“The impact of these changes has been no difference in weekly spelling test results. Children are able to self-select an area for development for Personal Development Time and are now more invested in their learning. There has been no negative feedback from parents.
“The next step will be to revisit our learning survey and get rid of homework across the school.”
Lilly Learmonth Sacred Heart Primary
The ASN secondary school introduced learning skills which were used at the starts of lessons, taking a visible learning approach. Children are allowed to be stuck and are developing skills and strategies to problem solve. Lots of life skills are used such as good looking, good listening and good thinking via activities like making a sandwich, using lots of photographs to demonstrate. Staff attitudes have been positive. Pupils are more aware of the process of learning and have more self-confidence.
Teachers have a self-assessment laminated sheet. Children are scanning the board to find the skill that went well and are celebrating this.
North Wales Team 1
All teachers had growth mindset displays and had changed the language of learning. This helped with consistency throughout the school. More children are willing to take part as the ethos has changed in one school.
Children in every school are not afraid to voice their opinion and give ideas.
The zones bullseye diagram had been successfully used in all classes and helps children to stay in the learning zone. Stuck strategies are discussed during the lesson. Two teachers said this had had no impact on some children who were always in the comfort zone.
The book ‘I am awesome’ by Matthew Syed was recommended for children.
“An 11 year old girl who cried during difficult maths sessions at the start of the year is now confident and unafraid of challenges or making mistakes since input about turning fixed mindset thinking into growth mindset thinking. I watched over her during the Welsh Government Maths Test and I was amazed by her confidence and having a go at every question.”
Teachers had only just started learning powers. One teacher had involved staff governors and parents in their introduction and characters and stories had been created for each disposition. Children in this school are using the language of learning and more aware of its meaning.
“When at an outdoor pursuit centre, instructors commented upon how the group was so competent and resilient. They participated in everything, encouraged each other and worked out how to overcome challenges. It was amazing to see growth mindset in a real life setting and how these skills will be used as the children mature. It is no longer on the surface – saying the ‘right’ phrases – it is embedded within the way they now think and face situations which are new.”
North Wales Team 2
All teachers had introduced the zones bullseye, constantly referenced in class and mistakes were now being celebrated. Children understand the zones and that there is no value in easy work.
Four teachers had introduced the learning pit with a toolbox to get out of the pit. They now have a positive attitude to mistakes and are not afraid of them. Most children this works with but others is an ongoing process.
Four teachers had no rewards, with no mention about this by children. There was 100% vote to get rid of them and children now prefer to celebrate the learning.
All teachers now have mixed ability with challenge choices.
One school had contacted the local library for growth mindset books.
Four teachers were now doing ‘skill of the week’ instead of child of the week. To make a point it was suggested that they did teacher of the week and asked staff how they would feel if they don’t get rewarded. Staff understand the rationale.
Two schools make positive phone calls home to strengthen home school links.
In one school every staff meeting begins with a growth mindset video.
Four teachers had used the learning powers, making 8 stories to go with characters. The whole school had introduced these and the result was a combination of growth mindset thinking with the language of the powers.
Two teachers had a learning tree for all classes in the school with the learning powers at the top of the tree. Learning language is now consistent throughout the school by teachers and pupils. Using this with the growth mindset has led to improved behaviour, attitude and more engagement.
One school used symbols to represent the powers, as a transition to high school.
“Learning powers are well established in the school with characters such as ‘Have a go Hippo’ and stories which were created by the children. I felt it was necessary, however, to do a transition project with the high school, as the Y6 pupils wouldn’t go up to high school saying they were ‘Have a go Hippo’.
“The children have therefore looked at each learning power and what it meant to them, and decided on more age appropriate language for learning for high school. They also designed symbols/emojis for each attitude to learning. This will be displayed in every Y7 class, along with the learning pit and bullseye learning zone.
“Additionally, the children have written a letter to their future self, saying why they think learning powers and growth mindset has been important to them and how they want to continue this at high school. They will receive this at the end of the first term at high school.
“Finally, Y6 have made trailers for Y2 to say why they think growth mindset and learning powers are important as they enter Key Stage 2, so they leave their mark on the school as they leave.”
Tabitha Sawyer Ysgol Pen y Bryn
One teacher produced an amazing video of her class engaged in learning power challenges, as follows:
“Children and teachers decided on fun activities to participate in to reinforce the learning powers. For ‘don’t give up’ flicking a pencil into a cup from the side of the table was decided on. Starting from 9.30 am one child practised till by lunch time he could get 10 pencils in a row into the cup. He then wanted to get 15 in a row.
” ‘Being cooperative’ was to build a card pyramid with A4 cards, two children working together.
“In the afternoon all the children were read the story ‘The Dot’. Each child created their own art work and by the end 250 pieces of art were placed together to create a giant dot on the yard. It is a masterpiece.
“All children, teachers and TAs wore green. The buzz word went home and parents were talking about it. This had instant impact – the journey has started.”
All teachers had introduced the concept of the growth mindset Children had low self-efficacy. A passport activity had children reflecting on what kind of learner they thought they were and how learning made them feel. This brought up the idea that we need to focus on what we know which led to the importance of mistakes.
Having ‘I can’t do it YET’ as a mantra had made it more acceptable to make mistakes.
All teachers got rid of all reward systems, which children’s morale affected positively for some, negatively for others. Certificates were given in one school for effort and perseverance. In another, children have got used to the idea that they are doing well without an extrinsic reward.
Stepped challenges for maths worked well with the zones bullseye chart.
“After showing my class the zones bullseye, one low achieving child suddenly said it reminded him of a tortoise. If it’s in the comfort zone it is in its shell so it won’t move. If it’s in the learning zone it can walk in the sand and make progress. If it’s in the panic zone it is flat out and won’t make progress.”
One school changed the wording of the eight powers to make the acrostic for their school name.
Learning powers have been introduced but not stories to go with the characters yet. Future impact will be that children will know the learning powers the more they are referred to.