Andy FalconerAn education at St Olave’s extends well beyond classroom learning and academic achievement. Our aim is to develop resilient learners, who can think for themselves and thrive in an unpredictable future. We want them to enjoy their successes but also to take on life’s disappointments, reflect on them and use them constructively. Our Core Expectations and the School’s Seven Values are at the centre of how we try to live our lives and guide our behaviours and conversations.

Growth Mindset is a key focus here at St Olave’s. The headlines of growth mindset are very simple: if you try hard and learn from your mistakes, you will make progress. Well, we may agree wholeheartedly with the headlines but the truth is that our language and our behaviour can accidentally reinforce the opposite of growth mindset in our children or those we educate: a fixed mindset. For example, have you ever asked your child if they came top in something, or asked them where they came in the class or group? Have you ever offered rewards for reaching a set goal? Have you ever told you child how brilliant they are for finishing something quickly or with little effort?

If we, as parents and teachers use language that reinforces the idea that success can be measured, our children will never be comfortable with failure, which is an important part of the learning process. Being brave enough to take a risk, to try something that is not guaranteed to succeed is growth mindset. To fail, pick yourself up, learn, try again with new knowledge and understanding, are character traits we at St Olave’s consider to be vital for a child to develop happily and successfully in our rapidly changing world.

This belief in certain traits is where our eight Learning Habits come from: collaboration, curiosity, empathy, flexible thinking, initiative, creativity, perseverance, and embracing challenge. They are a tangible way for us to teach and develop growth mindset strategies to the pupils. The children are taught how the habits can be employed in different subjects to advance their learning during their time with us. We know that if we praise the process we are encouraging a growth mindset and nurturing a child who will be more likely to believe that effort leads to success. If we praise the result, we’re encouraging a Fixed Mindset and nurturing a belief that our pupils are only a success as long as they keep winning.

It’s the difference between:
‘I’m so proud of how hard you worked to get that done.’ (Growth Mindset) 
‘I’m so proud of you – you’re so clever to have done that.’ (Fixed Mindset)

We encourage the pupils here at St Olave’s to be inspired to embark on their own growth mindset learning journey.

Please come along and visit us; I look forward to welcoming you.

Andy Falconer, Master

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