25 August 2017
As we know, ‘growth mindset’ is the name given by psychologist Carol Dweck to the idea that intelligence can develop and that effort leads to success. Those with a growth mindset have a huge appetite for learning, are keenly attentive to information that can help develop their understanding and skill, and are not discouraged by failure. Indeed, those people don’t actually see themselves as failing – they see themselves as learning. Although the term growth mindset is generally attributed to individuals, schools can also be described as having a ‘fixed’ or a ‘growth’ mindset. A school that believes external factors such as students’ backgrounds, available resources or current levels of achievement limit what’s possible in terms of student or curriculum outcomes will find it difficult to grow and improve. On the other hand, a school that believes no matter how well (or poorly) the organisation is performing it can always improve its practices and thereby raise student outcomes, is a school with a growth mindset.
Schools with growth mindsets demonstrate a culture of continuous improvement. There is a shared commitment to an improvement agenda, a willingness to learn with and from each other, and an enthusiasm for new initiatives, new approaches and experience learning. Schools with growth mindsets encourage innovation and appropriate risk taking, reward employees for important and useful lessons learned, share information with each other, support collaboration across all department areas, are committed to the professional growth of every staff member, regularly seek feedback on operations and performance, and admit when they have got it wrong.
The Glennie School is in a period of change. We have a new Principal, a new strategic direction (soon to be released), a new Senior curriculum to plan for and implement, and a new focus on developing in students the 21st-century skills needed to succeed in a complex, competitive, technology-driven economy and society. With all these changes, it would be easy to fall into insecurity or defensiveness and do what we have always done. Instead, our staff are feeling involved, empowered and committed. Without question, adopting and maintaining a growth mindset is hard work. But the rewards are invaluable in terms of connection, purpose, direction and improvement – not just for the school, but for all key stakeholders, including staff, students
Ms Tonia Gloudemans
Head of Senior Years