Visiting speaker, Tim Perris, facilitated a thought-provoking CPD session with Sidcot staff last Monday. What topic held their attention and generated impassioned debate about best educational practice? Mindsets. In particular, growth mindsets and challenging the notion that intelligence is fixed. Of course, there is the oft-quoted, famous experiment of the fleas in the jar that has so often accompanied mindset discussions in the past: two groups of fleas have their jump heights measured. One group of fleas is placed in a jar; the others are not. Naturally, the free fleas jump very high, whereas the fleas in the jar, when they are released, can only jump the height of the jar in which they have been contained.
Comprehensively researched, confidently delivered and eye-opening in terms of content, Perris’ expertise and knowledge in all things growth mindset, gave Sidcot staff a valuable opportunity to evaluate their approach to teaching and the learning of Sidcot students.
In classrooms across the land, teachers hear students lament their limits: “I just can’t do English”, “I am not a numbers person”, or “Just give me my grade”. Perris explained clearly the difference between extrinsic motivation for students (proving their worth to their teacher, their parents or their peers) and intrinsic motivation (working hard at the task because they wanted to improve their skills, ability and knowledge for themselves). What emerged was the lesson that if students wanted to experience deep and genuine learning, they had to embrace the ‘fabulous struggle’ of encountering challenge and difficulty, even make mistakes! This was the path to growth in learning and developing intelligence.
We will, as part of our continuing work with the Sidcot Learning Wheel, be inviting parents to hear how this work on the growth mindset will continue to permeate Sidcot teaching and learning.
Assistant Head Teaching and Learning