‘Ability vs. Effort’: The Mindset Revolution

Posted in Inspiration & Ideas

I am spending part of my Christmas break researching and reading articles which I hope will inspire new trains of thought and take my existing knowledge to a new level. I have to discipline myself to sit down and read, but when I do the benefits are incredible.

My journey so far these past few days has led me to this article on an area that, I know from my work, is currently overlooked by many schools and is yet has the potential to give everyone what they so desperately crave; great progress and opportunities for every child. It is written by the truly inspiring Professor Jo Boaler whose book ‘The Elephant in the Classroom’ still remains the most important book I have ever read on maths education.

So make a cuppa and give yourself a little time out to read this; just ten minutes may do it. You’ll gain so much I promise.

Cervello neuroni sinapsi

‘Ability and Mathematics: the mindset revolution that is reshaping education’ by Prof. Jo Boaler

‘Recent scientific evidence demonstrates both the incredible potential of the brain to grow and change and the powerful impact of growth mindset messages upon students’ attainment. Schooling practices, however, particularly in England, are based upon notions of fixed ability thinking which limits students’ attainment and increases inequality. This article reviews evidence for brain plasticity, the importance of mindset and the ways that mindset messages may be communicated through classroom and grouping practices.

In 2006 a trade book appeared on bookshelves that would ultimately have one of the biggest impacts on education of any research volume ever published. In Mindset: the new psychology of success (2006a) Carol Dweck summarised key findings from her research on the nature and impact of different mindsets. The book quickly became a New York Times best-seller, a BBC news headliner, and was translated into more than 20 languages. In it, Dweck summarised her research evidence from decades of research with differently-aged subjects showing that when students develop what she has called a ‘growth mindset’ then they believe that intelligence and ‘smartness’ can be learned and that the brain can grow from exercise. The implications of this mindset are profound…. read more here

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  • ‘One of our EYFS Teachers has just attended this training and came back totally inspired and singing your praises. She said that she learnt more on this course than any course she has ever attended!’


    C Magnocavallo Head of Maths, Chesham Preparatory School, Bucks

  • Thank you for showing us HOW to change. So many courses just tell us what isn't working but not how to go about addressing this. Your approaches make so much sense! 

  • Just to say thank you again for 3 really brilliant talks at SGIS. We're a small school near Basel and we’d be interested in anything you’re doing nearby (Zurich way) so please let us know!