‘Have a growth mind-set’. ‘You can if you think you can’. ‘Go the extra mile’. It is often talked about but what does it look like in context within schools?
In one example, at Bowling Park Primary School, the whole school promotes a ‘can do’ ethos, which is embedded through the ‘Going the Extra Mile’ or ‘GEM’ approach. Talking about future aspirations with children encourages them to push themselves, work hard and rise to challenges. This ties in very neatly with Dweck’s research about Growth mind-set.
The other week, I joined in a very thought provoking #aussieED chat about research:
* What is meant by the word research?
* Who carries it out?
* Is it really useful?
There seemed to be a difference of opinion in that some people said that research is done over a period of time and is a collection of a range of data. However, @mairinglenn made a good point about ‘drawing theory from our practice’. Whilst all points were valid and research is not solely restricted to a school environment, it does seem that ‘research’ can be collected on a daily basis when working with a class of children.
@Hywel_Roberts talks about ‘accidental learning’. “Some of the best learning takes place when, rather than imposing on young people a pre-determined curriculum, you find the stimulus that is relevant and engaging for them and build from there.” (Hywel Roberts http://www.createlearninspire.co.uk/oops)
The other day at Queensway Primary School in Leeds, I had the pleasure of witnessing this first hand.
During a maths session, a group of Y1 children had chosen to work in the sand tray. The task was to pick numbered lollipop sticks out of the sand and compose number sentences.
However, much to the excitement of the children, a problem had arisen; there was a hole in the sand tray!
Despite observations of teachers taking place and the temptation to hush them away quickly before it caused a fuss, staff allowed the children to continue their exploration of the problem.
The level of engagement and interaction between the four children at that time was a prime example of accidental learning. Children took turns, collaborated and suggested ideas: “We need tape!”. They went through the problem solving process, measuring Sellotape to cover the crack, moving the sand away to stop the constant flow pouring onto the floor and swept the sand after borrowing the brush from Y2.
Even then, they weren’t finished as one little girl said, “We need to test it!” They put lots of sand back over the crack once the tape had been applied and refined their ideas by deciding that they would add more tape as there was still a small leak.
What had started as one thing very quickly evolved into something else, entirely child-led and with real purpose.
I was lucky enough to attend the @EducationShow in Birmingham this weekend with a fellow professional, Suzi Hunt. Special mention to @nightzookeeper as their creative writing month has generated lots of excitement for young writers, ensuring that learning continues to be almost ‘accidental’. Keep up the great work!
As I meandered up and down the aisles, collecting flyers and learning about educational products and services, it dawned on me just how many educators were prepared to give up their Saturday with a view to improving their own practice and development. All this to try to make a positive difference to the lives of the children in their respective schools!
Ideas were shared at the Teach Meet (#tmedshow15) too. Great ideas came from @gazneedle about art across the curriculum, Claire Lotriet about #proudofmyselfie and @charliedean about how she use the fabulous @classdojo for parental engagement.
Unfortunately, I missed Guy Claxton at the event on Friday. However, what he said is what I continue to see in many learners, young and wise; “School is a place where kids pick up attitudes about learning”. So let’s ensure that we model a ‘can do’ approach and inspire the future generation. After all, it all goes to show that with the right mind-set and attitude, we have the power to do anything…