At The Brent, we believe that effort should be valued above results. We believe that intelligence is not fixed, but that our brains can grow and learn through being stretched. We do not believe in ‘reaching our potential’, but in ‘maximising our potential’. We can change our attitude to learning, and we can take responsibility for our behaviours. There should be no ceiling; we strive to remove the barriers we are sure to meet. We aim to be the best we can possibly be!
Our school expects children and adults to be the best that they can be. To stretch ourselves, challenge ourselves and expect more of ourselves as learners and as citizens. It is not easy. Having a growth mindset approach means that we do not give up. When it is getting hard, that is when the stretch – the learning – is happening. When we are challenging ourselves, we call it, ‘being in the pit!’.
You may have heard your child talking about how they have been into 'the pit' at school. Above is a visual aid for the children to describe their learning journeys throughout the day. We want the children to understand that it is okay to be stuck, and that some of their best learning is done when they find things the hardest!
This approach links with how we give feedback. too: 'Prompts for improvement' and 'next steps' promotes learning for all pupils. If children have fixed mindsets, they may find it hard to cope with failure. We teach our children (and adults!) to see mistakes as a positive part of the learning process. This makes for a very energetic and inclusive culture.
We have our own Brent Growth Mindset stickers to recognise the behaviours of a growth mindset. These have been designed and printed specifically for our school. Sample stickers are:
I learnt from my mistake
I took a risk
I asked a great question
I made a link
I showed resilience
I showed stickability
I showed determination
I showed resourcefulness
I climbed out the pit
Every Friday, we hold our Lower School and Upper School Celebration Assemblies. This is an opportunity for children to have their efforts recognised, and to receive a bespoke ‘Certificate of Recognition’ for the Brent value (growth mindset attribute) they have demonstrated. The adult tells the audience how this has been evidenced, reinforcing the approach and vocabulary throughout our school.
At The Brent, the promotion of growth mindsets supports our ethos. We believe that every child can learn, and it is important to provide the environment and culture to allow every child to thrive. Getting ‘20 out of 20’ is meaningless: knowing how to be a great learner is everything. There is no such thing as ‘I can’t do it’. What we say and feel is, ‘I can’t do it –yet’!