Towards a Growth Mindset in Science & Maths

mindset1Two of our Learning Innovators from science and maths, Becky Owen and Shane Borrett, have been using their project to develop a growth mindset with their students.  As a school, we are interested in simple, effective and sustainable ways in which we can do this.  These are two great examples.

Excellence Gallery

Science GM

In science, Becky has been looking at ways she can develop the following attributes with her students:

  • Embracing challenge
  • Maximising effort
  • Persisting when stuck
  • Responding to feedback

All four are key to developing a growth mindset and aspiring to excellence.  To support this work, Becky has set up a ‘Science Excellence Gallery’ in the corridor.  Students that exhibit particular strengths in the qualities mentioned above, have their work displayed on the board as shown in the diagram and are also awarded such prestigious titles as ‘Challenge Cruncher‘!  The work is also annotated by Becky, to explain what each individual student did that was so impressive e.g. redrafted their work following feedback, stuck with a really difficult exam question etc.

Work will be added to the board over time.  It is hoped that the board will:

  • Reward these students for their efforts by celebrating their work.
  • Raise awareness of the importance of these growth mindset attributes to students.
  • Link the fact that these attributes result in excellence.
  • Encourage all students to aspire to excellence.

Excellence Portfolios

maths ex portIn maths, Shane has been working on raising the expectations of his students – particularly a group of low ability, Y10 students.  One of the things he has been focusing on is to instil a sense of pride in their work, especially when they persist with a difficult task or problem.  But rather than just reward them in the usual way, he wants the reward to be the work and effort itself – so growing an ‘Ethic of Excellence’.

He is going to do this by getting each student to put together their own ‘Portfolio of Excellence’. This will be put together over time by the students and consist of examples of their day to day work, that they found hard, but persisted with and then completed – and of course, the expectation will be that the presentation of the work will be perfect.

This work will then be shared with their peers, parents at consultation evenings and staff – including presenting their work at the end of the year to the SLT.

surferBoth of these projects have great potential.  I love the way they both celebrate hard work and persistence – as well as setting the standard of excellence for others to follow.

An ‘Ethic of Excellence’ continues to grow at DHS!


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4 Responses to Towards a Growth Mindset in Science & Maths

  1. Simona Trignano says:

    Shouldn’t the title of this blog be ” towards a growth mindset in science and maths?”


  2. Yes! It’s only that on the link – won’t let me change it. Never mind – great stuff though

  3. dodiscimus says:

    Both excellent ideas. Do you pass the message on to parents as well – getting work on the wall, or adding to the portfolio seems to me like a great opportunity for positive notes or phone calls home. Your post has made me think I should shove my start of year spiel onto my blog – I’ll try to do that in the next couple of days – although I think this work is much more about developing the right culture than the motivational speech at the start of the year.

  4. Thanks very much. I think you’re right. Working on the idea of GM with parents is the next step. I look forward to reading your blog.

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