There has been a lot of talk about growth mindset recently. On Twitter I have seen lots of images of lovely, new school displays emblazoned with motivational quotes to change the mindset of the teenagers we teach. But is it enough to say ‘yet’ in response to our students claim that they don’t know the answer? Will this change the stubborn, niggly, fixed mindsets that so many of the young people we teach, and the colleagues we work with, share? Surely they require the critical thinking skills to accept the fact that they are yet to understand but are equally able to recognise why it is they need to learn to understand.
This post is inspired by a twilight session I have attended at my school. The focus was achieving A*/A at sixth form through developing the students’ critical thinking skills. As a department we recognised the necessity to consider the key concepts we teach at A-Level and ensure these are filtered down to our schemes of learning at KS4 and KS3 in order for students to think for themselves about the learning.
We discussed the point of our subject; what students can gain from our subject; how we help students to develop their critical thinking skills and how we define critical thinking. Ultimately, we decided the value of English was that students have the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills. We hope our students feel they have a voice in society; are able to make informed decisions and are confident in their understanding of texts/their society/the world so question and challenge the views of others in a respectful manner.
And my question to you is, is that not the fundamentals required to develop a growth mindset? In order to recognise that a fixed mindset can be detrimental to our learning, do we not need to learn to think and consider the value of a growth mindset?