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Princes Risborough Primary School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Growth Mindset

Our Growth Mindset Learning Pit

Your children may well have been talking about how they have been into "the pit" at school! The picture that is displayed above is an example of a learning pit that we have in every classroom throughout the school and is a visual aid for the children to describe their learning journeys throughout the day. We became a 'Growth Mindset' School in January 2017 and this has transformed the way we approach learning and how we interact with the children. Children have embraced the Growth Mindset theory and this is very much a part of daily life in school. We want the children to understand that it is okay to be stuck, and that some of their best learning happens when they find things challenging. Rather than simply praising success, we praise effort and persistence. Mistakes are part of learning.


At Princes Risborough Primary School, we believe that one of the best gifts we can give is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. Our pupils recognise that effort, resilience and good learning behaviours are the strategies that really help them to improve.


We want parents to be on board with Growth Mindset too! It will change the way that you think!

It was once thought telling children how smart they are would give them confidence in their abilities, the desire to learn, and the hardiness to withstand difficulty.

'The self-esteem movement got it wrong. Praising children’s intelligence may boost their confidence for a brief moment, but by fostering the fixed view of intelligence, it makes them afraid of challenges, it makes them lose confidence when tasks become hard, and it leads to plummeting performance in the face of difficulty.'

Research shows that praising the process—children’s effort or strategies—creates eagerness for challenges, persistence in the face of difficulty, and enhanced performance.

'What has been found in study after study is that emphasising natural intelligence takes this out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.'


8 tips for promoting a Growth Mindset in children:


  1. Help children understand that the brain works like a muscle, that can only grow through hard work, determination, and lots and lots of practice.
  2. Don’t tell students they are smart, gifted, or talented, since this implies that they were born with the knowledge, and does not encourage effort and growth.
  3. Let children know when they demonstrate a Growth Mindset.
  4. Praise the process. It’s effort, hard work, and practice that allow children to achieve their true potential.
  5. Don’t praise the results. Test scores and rigid ways of measuring learning and knowledge limit the growth that would otherwise be tapped.
  6. Embrace failures and mistakes. Children sometimes learn the most when they fail. Let them know that mistakes are a big part of the learning process. There is nothing like the feeling of struggling through a very difficult problem, only to finally break through and solve it! The harder the problem, the more satisfying it is to find the solution.
  7. Encourage participation and collaborative group learning. Children learn best when they are immersed in a topic and allowed to discuss and advance with their peers.
  8. Encourage competency-based learning. Get kids excited about subject matter by explaining why it is important and how it will help them in the future. The goal should never be to get the ‘correct’ answer, but to understand the topic at a fundamental, deep level, and want to learn more.

Growth Mindset is big in our school...