Mindset: The things we say

Class Teaching


I’ve written before (lots!) about growth mindset and why I think it’s important.  I think we need to be careful though.  If it’s really going to make a difference, we need to think very deeply about what it really means as teachers and leaders to be supporting a growth mindset in our schools.  Posters, assemblies and pictures are fine – but the way we will really make a difference to our students, in terms of developing their mindset, is the way we interact with them on a day to day basis – in particular, in the things we say to them.

mindsetbennetTo me, Tom’s description above nails it.  The problem is though, the more you think about mindset, the more you start to question the way we talk to students and the way in which schools operate.  A few examples follow (most of which I have used at some point in…

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A day in my life


I’m definitely a lark, not an owl, and having checked my diary the evening before and set out an outfit to wear accordingly, waking at 5 am, with thoughts of what lay in store for the day is not unusual. I enjoy that short time of peace and quiet, listening to the birds singing and watching the sun rise before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

I aim to get into school for 7am again, giving me that time to ensure I am appropriately prepared for the day. I like to make sure the school is welcoming to all as they arrive and this includes putting on some music to greet staff as they arrive – maybe Michael Bublé, Il Divo, Adele or many other choices. The early start also gives me chance to catch up on emails and catch up with staff as they begin to arrive…

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How can we keep teachers happy? Thin red lines between wellbeing & misery

Improving Teaching

The thin red line (or, as William Russell originally reported, the “Thin red streak tipped with a line of steel”) which held off a charge of Russian cavalry at the Battle of Balaclava has become a metaphor for stretched forces holding firm against defeat.  Thin red lines might stave off teachers’ defeat over workload and wellbeing.Robert_Gibb_-_The_Thin_Red_Line

Many teachers feel unhappy, overworked and inclined to quit.  404,600 trained teachers under 60 are no longer teaching (almost as many as are (451,000)).  In an NUT survey “90% of respondents had considered leaving teaching in the last two years, 96.5% said workload has negative consequences for family or personal life.”  Students and schools need teachers who stay in their job and keep improving: how can this be achieved?

One answer is promoting teacher wellbeing.  This summer I was asked by someone establishing a new school how I thought leaders might do this.  I don’t know: in setting up our school, we…

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