Cultivating Habits of Mind

Being willing to learn is a crucial element of a success mindset, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Hanna Miller explains how the Thinking Schools Academy Trust is providing students with the skills and habits to become the best version of themselves.
Children rock blimbing

In the field of sport, we often refer to what is known as ‘challenge vs threat’ state. This is the idea that performers need to feel they have the knowledge, resources and external support to take on the challenges that face them. Similarly, in a classroom context, each time a student walks in to a new lesson they make a judgement as to whether they should attempt a task, based on their perceived level of capability (Jones et al., 2009). The goal within the 14 schools that form our Trust is to shift as many students as possible from the ‘what’s the point of me even trying?’ or ‘I can’t do that’ mindset towards the ‘Yes I’ll give that a go’ mindset. Our Trust is composed of fourteen schools, ranging between single sex grammars, mixed high schools and infant schools that span two geographical ‘hubs’ in Medway and Portsmouth. Our secondary schools have seen real improvements in attainment since joining the Trust – on average our Progress 8 score for 2017 was +0.68, and throughout this time we have been keen to promote, not just the retention of knowledge, but also the development of positive learning behaviours that are linked to students’ success more holistically. 

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