Carol Dweck is a pioneering researcher in the field of motivation, why people succeed (or don't) and how to foster success.
Over thirty years ago, Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students' attitudes towards failure. They noticed that some students rebounded while others seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks. After studying the behaviour of thousands of children, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. As a result, they put in extra time and effort, which leads to higher achievement.
Dweck, a professor at Stanford University, USA, is widely renown for her ground-breaking research, which has been influential amongst educators - and increasingly among business leaders as well. Her book, 'Mindset', is a million-copy best seller which has been reviewed as “An utterly compelling story of how the way we think shapes our success. Essential reading for anyone with aspirations.” (Matthew Syed, author of 'Bounce' and two-time Olympic athlete.)
Dweck’s 2014 TED Talk (see link below) has been viewed over 13 million times!
How are we inspired at Hazeldown?
After watching Dweck’s TED Talk and reading her book, we were inspired to change the way that we provide feedback as well as reducing our pupils’ fear of making mistakes. We adopted an approach where we provide process-based praise rather than the historic model of praising the outcome. Furthermore, we encourage our pupils to embrace challenge and to see mistakes / failure as part of the learning process (“If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning”).
A growth mindset mentality is now an embedded part of our school approach and is referenced, exemplified and modelled throughout every school day. We advocate the importance of our pupils challenging themselves so they can learn more deeply and strengthen the connections in their brain. Dweck’s research also underpins the work of some of our other inspirations - namely Floyd Woodrow and James Nottingham.