After doing a lot of research into Growth Mindset (Youtube Carol Dweck as a starting point) I decided to introduce the idea to the children by using the ‘Austin’s butterfly’ story. The Youtube video is available here but I created my own pictures and told them about a boy that was in my class at another school to make it seem more real.
The children were mesmerized with the idea that the drawing had developed from a scribble to this beautiful image of a butterfly. Each time I showed them a stage of the drawing, I asked for them to give constructive feedback to Austin to help him improve. Each time they did this, I related this back to verbal/written feedback in the classroom and how we just need to keep trying, even if we think we can’t do it. This process really seemed to help them understand the point of teacher marking, peer discussions or teacher feedback and almost instantaneously helped them to see that if you keep trying you really can get better at anything! As Carol Dweck would say “the power of yet!”
Although this lesson and discussion only took around 45 minutes at the start of term, I can honestly say it has been one of the most valuable and memorable lessons of the year for the children. I regularly hear them giving each other unprompted feedback and saying “keep on going – remember Austin?” which has helped created a really nurturing environment in the classroom, full of minds that are willing to keep trying at anything. Powerful stuff!
Why not try developing a Growth Mindset classroom?