Resilience week – A huge success (part 1)
Last week saw the Prep Department hold their first ever Resilience Week. It was a great success with staff and children alike thoroughly enjoying the activities they took part in. But what was it really all about? Why did we spend a whole week in school focusing on resilience? Surely as parents and teachers we can just tell our children to ‘man (or woman) up’ now and again and job done?
Well, it would appear that there is no such quick fix which will be of real benefit to our children as they grow and learn so we decided to introduce them to the concept of Fixed versus Growth Mindsets.
Professor Carol Dweck Ph.D
Staff looked to Professor Carol Dweck, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation who is a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. According to Dweck, individuals can be placed on a continuum according to their views of “where ability comes from”. She states that there are two categories (Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset) that can group individuals based on their behaviour, specifically their reaction to failure.
Put simply, people fostering a Fixed Mindset believe that their abilities and intelligence are fixed from birth and they cannot change this whereas those with a Growth Mindset believe that they can acquire any given ability provided they invest effort or study. Although no one likes failing, children with a Growth Mindset do not let failure define them; instead, they use mistakes and setbacks to motivate them. Children encouraged to adopt a Growth Mindset enjoy challenges and the sense of achievement they get when they succeed.
Researchers have found that building a Growth Mindset helps children at school; making them more motivated, more engaged in the classroom and likely to achieve higher marks and gain greater awards from their work.
But it’s not all about educational outcomes as research also suggests that having a Growth Mindset increases children’s ability to attempt all sorts of different challenges and face problems that they might not have otherwise tackled whilst also appearing to improve behaviour, increase life satisfaction, and help children to control their emotions. Dweck argues that the Growth Mindset “will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life”.
How can we help your child as teachers?
In the school context, a Growth Mindset is a key focus in terms of both academic functioning (e.g. coping with failure on a challenging task) and emotional health and well-being (e.g. finding a way through adversity).
Research on praise and mindsets shows that when we praise children for being clever, it promotes a Fixed Mindset. … In contrast, praising our children for working hard promotes a Growth Mindset. It sends a message that the child’s effort is what led them to success.
Often as teachers we hear phrases from the children we teach which sit neatly in the Fixed Mindset box eg. “Well we can’t do that.” “It’s impossible!” “I give up!” “This is too hard.” “Joe can do it but I definitely can’t.”
We challenged this attitude/ perception from the children and started by introducing 2 farmyard friends at Monday morning assembly, Hermione and Sergei.
In the next blog post you can discover the tale of these 2 animals and how you, as parents and carers, can foster resilience and a Growth Mindset in your child.