Please enjoy Miss Tossell's Thought for the Term

DGS Leadership Characteristic: The Growth Mindset

Growth mindset is the idea that if we work hard and are dedicated we can improve our ability in anything we chose. How can this be true? What is happening in our ‘minds’ as they ‘grow’?

Carole Dweck, who first researched and developed the idea of growth mindset, is a Psychologist. Her idea is supported by Biologists as well, who have discovered that the brain is ‘plastic’. That doesn’t mean it’s made of plastic, but rather that it behaves in the same way, it can change depending on what happens to it during its life, known as its experiences.

Each time we experience something, a new nerve (or neural) pathway is made. Over time this pathway is lost, but if we keep experiencing the same things again and again that pathway doesn’t go away, instead it gets stronger and stronger. In effect, we have created a new pathway in our brain – which means we have learnt a new piece of knowledge or a new skill.

The key here is the repetition. Doing it once isn’t enough, even doing it two or three times isn’t enough to make it really strong, several repetitions are needed. Some skills and knowledge may need more repetitions than others to reinforce that pathway – but it will eventually become strong if you’re dedicated and work hard by repeating the same task.

If you’re revising over the Easter holiday, for a test or exam next term or if you are practising something new, maybe for a sport or musical instrument, keep thinking about growth mindset. Whatever you want to improve at, learning facts, practising exam technique, that new piece of music, or even your aim with netball or football, if you are dedicated and put the work in to repeating the experience, your brain will grow the pathways you need to make that improvement – just stick at it and don’t give up!


Miss. Tossell

Head of Science, Associate Senior Leader