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St. Dunstan's Catholic School Website
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Children's Learning
Learning Disposition Framework Whole School
Progression of an Effective Learner at St. Dunstan's
Growth Mindset and Learning Dispositions at St.Dunstan's

We aren't all born the same, but...
We can change our ability!
EVERYONE has to work hard to be successful.

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer... I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious”
(Albert Einstein).

At St Dunstan’s we believe that it is important to encourage our pupils’ to have growth mindsets to enable them to tackle the challenges that they may face in their learning at school and to support them with whatever they choose to do as adults.
Characteristics of Effective Learning

We believe that positive learning behaviour and dispositions are key to enabling children to learn effectively and make good progress. Emphasis is placed on developing a growth mindset to optimise learning experiences. Across the school, a learning disposition and growth mindset continuum supports progression in these skills.

What is a Growth Mindset?
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Carol S. Dweck, PH.D, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

Growth Mindset v Fixed Mindset

What does this look like in everyday practice?
  • High expectations
  • Building resilience
  • Specific plans for growth & development
  • Celebrating mistakes
  • Use of role models
  • Language/praise
  • Modelling
Aim for the Stars
Developing a Growth Mindset
  • We remember it’s always OK to make mistakes – we learn from them
  • We never give up! We try a different approach, or use a different strategy
  • We don’t compare ourselves with others, but we do learn from others
  • We challenge ourselves – which really helps us make progress
  • We take risks – we don’t limit ourselves by taking the easy option
  • We know the power of saying ‘YET’ – I can’t do it YET We remember that mastering something new feels so much better than doing something you can already do
  • We know that our brain is like a muscle that can be developed and which grows in strength with hard work 
The Learning Pit

How can parents help?  
Carol S Dweck Carol S Dweck Quote

Mind Shifting Tips for Cultivating a Growth Mindset at Home
  • Help children remember a time when they learned something new that was a stretch or a challenge.
    Point out the developmental nature of “getting good” – we all go through the process of making a lot of mistakes, practising, and then getting better e.g. learning to ride a bike.
  • Help children get curious about mistakes.
    Help them to think of mistakes as new information or as a step in the process of learning. Guide them to tackling the problem in a new way.
  • Help children to use a growth mindset voice.
    This is hard, but it will get easier.
    I get better and better with practice.
    Practice makes permanent.
  • Model growth mindset at the table.
    At dinner: Tell your child about a time when you didn't know the answer to a recent question.  Who did you ask for help? How did you learn the answer?

    At breakfast:
    Ask questions about their opportunities for learning and growth in the coming day or week.  What questions do they need answers to? What so they want to learn, practise, and/or get better at today/this week?
  • Avoid labels.
    Don’t label yourself in ways that models a “fixed mindset” (e.g., I’m a terrible cook….I was never good at maths.”)
  • Give growth-mindset praise.
    Praise and value effort, practice, self-correction, and persistence rather than intelligence. Otherwise if children get something wrong, they may fear they no longer appear clever and consequently avoid any future challenge for fear of failure.
  • Get curious about your child's work through questioning.
    How did you work that out?
    What's another way you could have done that?
    How many times did you try before it turned out that way?
    Which part was challenging?
    What do you plan to do next?
  • Don't protect your child from failure.
    Children need to make mistakes and know how to pick themselves up and try again. Otherwise, as they get older, they may be unable to cope with life’s disappointments as they have not learnt how to cope with any sort of failure. Ask “What can you learn from this experience? What could you try differently the next time?”.
"I don't divide the world into the weak and the strong,
or the successes and the failures... (or the high and low ability),
I divide the world into the learners and non-learners."
Benjamin Barber
(American Political Theorist and Author)

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St. Dunstan's Catholic Primary School, Onslow Crescent, Woking, Surrey. GU22 7AX  Tel: 01483 715190 
email: office@stdunstans.surrey.sch.uk