What makes a significant difference to how a student does at school? How well a student thinks they will do at school. Students who think they’ll do badly, tend to do badly and those who think they’ll do well, tend to do well. If we can get a student to believe they can do better, they will.
It’s not a magic trick or wishful thinking, it’s knowing that if a student understands and believes that if they work hard and keep going, whatever pitfalls they encounter, they will continue to improve their skills and talents. We aren’t saying that’s easy to do (it will mean a lot of hard work), or that it’s risk free (there will be setbacks and failures along the way that will attempt to dent confidence) but we are saying it’s possible. Whatever the starting point of a student, having a growth mindset is paramount and we need your help to nurture this as we can’t just do it here at school.
It’s all about the language you use at home when you talk to your children. Your child comes home, a bit deflated. They tell you they found the Maths or Science topic really hard. They aren’t sure they’ll be able to do it. What do you say? “Oh, don’t worry, I was rubbish at Maths and Science when I was at school. We can’t be good at everything!” You want to reassure, to make them know you empathise when in fact what you may have done is given your child an excuse not to try in Maths or Science anymore. You’ve just told them that there’s a reason why they can’t do it and there’s nothing they can do about that.
Remember, a student tends to do as well as they think they will, so this may well become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So, we’re asking you to think very carefully about the language you use around your children. Praise effort, determination, perseverance. Don’t praise speed, easy victories. These are worthless. Encourage resilience, initiative, curiosity and most of all don’t give students excuses.
Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” We agree.
We know that every student can get better at whatever they put their minds to and, with your help, we aim to help every one of your children believe that too.
Head of Primary