Growth Mindset Learning at Stepney

September 6, 2018

Our strapline this year is:
Growing healthy minds and healthy bodies

At Stepney’s we look very carefully at how our pupils learn and consider all the things that will help them to be ‘good learners.’ This year, we are teaching our pupils to have a Growth Mindset.

What is a Growth Mindset?

Do you have a Growth Mindset or a Fixed Mindset?       Take the test! –
People with a Growth Mindset:                                               People with a Fixed Mindset:
Embrace Challenges                                                                       Avoid Challenges
Keep Going                                                                                        Give up easily
Learn from Criticism                                                                        Hate Criticism
Learn from failure                                                                            Avoid Failure
Learn from mistakes                                                                       Hate making mistakes
Learn from setbacks                                                                       Setbacks are discouraging
Put lots of effort in                                                                          Effort is pointless
Use feedback                                                                                    Ignore Feedback

So how are we teaching Growth Mindsets?
We are teaching our pupils that the brain is a muscle which can grow. The way we think and talk about our learning is vital in the development of our brain and our mindset. These are some of the strategies we use with our pupils and you can use at home.


INSTEAD OF…                                                                                    TRY THINKING…

I’m not good at this.                                                                          What am I missing?

I give up.                                                                                              I’ll use a different strategy.

It’s good enough.                                                                               Is this really my best work?

I can’t make this any better.                                                             I can always improve.

This is too hard.                                                                                 This may take some time.

I made a mistake.                                                                               I can learn from my mistakes.

I just can’t do this.                                                                              I am going to train my brain.

I’ll never be that smart.                                                                     I will learn how to do this.

Plan A didn’t work.                                                                             There’s always Plan B.

My friend can do it.                                                                            I will learn from them.

It is too hard.                                                                                       I need more time and effort.

I can’t do it.                                                                                          I will learn how to do it.

They are better at doing it.                                                               What can I learn from them?

That way didn’t work.                                                                         I will try a different way.

I avoid challenges.                                                                              I will embrace challenges.

Success in school depends on pupils’ attitudes to learning. We believe that developing a positive Growth mindset is crucial for all our pupils both at Stepney and to make them successful lifelong learners in the future.


Having a Growth Mindset helps pupils become independent, confident and resilient learners. They embrace challenges and are not afraid of making mistakes. Pupils see struggling as the point of new learning and are not afraid to take risks. Having a Growth Mindset means that pupils learn to be better learners and are able to deal with learning as it becomes more challenging throughout their life.

The Psychologist Carol Dwek says:
‘Motivation is not only the desire to achieve, but also the love of learning, the love of challenge, and the ability to thrive on obstacles. These are the greatest gifts we can give our pupils.’


Just changing what you say to pupils can have a huge impact on how they see themselves and how they approach their learning. Our pupils know that if they are finding their learning easy, they are not necessarily learning anything new. If they are struggling, then this is the point of new learning. Learning is a journey and they will always get there in the end.


Carol Dweck’s favourite word is “YET” such as: “I can’t do it…YET!”
Please follow this link to see a 10 minute by Carol Dweck on ‘Growth Mindsets’:

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