How often have we said the following to a child who is struggling with a particular subject, thinking we were being helpful: ‘Don’t worry, I was never very good at Maths [or English, French, Science etc.] either. Sometimes our brains just aren’t wired that way.’
There is a growing school of thought that intelligence and ability are, in fact, not fixed. Brains and talent are just the starting point for us all and, with effort and dedication, intelligence can be grown as the brain continues to develop over the course of our lives. This idea is known as the ‘Growth Mindset’.
According to Stanford University Professor, Dr Carol Dweck, if we teach to the Growth Mindset theory, we develop in our students the belief that their basic abilities, such as intelligences or talents, can be developed through dedication and hard work. This is very empowering for a young person.
In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet?
At Kilvington, we place very high importance on teaching students to stretch themselves, persevere with things when they are hard or difficult and be resilient in the ways they cope when things are not going well. This is the hallmark of the Growth Mindset – a love of learning and resilience.