Habits of Mind

Challenge Pits – Which Zone Are You in Today?

True learning doesn’t happen without a challenge. We must stretch (not strain) ourselves to increase our standards and abilities. As Anders Ericson points out, if you never push yourself beyond your current best, you will never improve. When we challenge ourselves to achieve just beyond our current best, we go into what is sometimes referred […]

Becoming a Better Learner in the Learning Landscape

For many of us, learning is something we just do. It’s not something we learn to do well. Sure, we all understand that some people are better or faster at learning than others. But that’s often attributed (incorrectly) to “natural ability”. We think some people are just smarter than others. As teachers, our job is to […]

Has the tide turned on Growth Mindsets?

Most school-based Growth Mindset interventions don’t work! As schools struggle to find Growth Mindset interventions that work, a growing tide of criticism has forced psychologist Carol Dweck to defend her theories. A recent article in TES (“Carol Dweck: where growth mindset went wrong”) gives her response. I’ve been warning that the tide will turn on Growth […]

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

One of the most important lessons I learnt as an aspiring school leader was “just because you can doesn’t mean you should!” Like a lot of teachers, I found my first few years of teaching very challenging. The “bar” seemed to be set incredibly high, and I had to work hard to learn my craft. […]

Turia Pitt: A Growth Mindset in Action

Turia Pitt knows how to take on challenges and overcome adversity. Completing a double Bachelors degree in Engineering (Mining) and Science at the University of New South Wales in 2010, Turia went on to successfully apply her learning as a mining engineer at a prestigious diamond mining company in Western Australia. Not content with only […]

Teaching students to create and use feedback

Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring the Five Elements of Effort. We began by noting that although we are interested in student “effort”, we often lack a coherent definition of what we mean by “effort”. “Effort” is often associated simply with the amount of time and energy a student expends on a […]

Why students need to get better at making mistakes

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about how real growth only happens when we stretch ourselves beyond our current best. We grow when we seek to raise the bar by working in our Learning Zone. This stretch requires us to develop our Habits of Mind to become better learners. The challenge with working […]

Learning to do better with Habits of Mind

Last week, I wrote about the two fundamental types of learning: learning to do more and learning to do better. Learning to do more involves “below-the-bar” thinking. It occurs in your Comfort Zone and simply entails applying your current learning behaviours to the task at hand. It’s doing something you can already do or doing […]

There are only two types of learning: More or Better

In my mind, there are only two types of learning: learning to do more or learning to do better. As educators, it is critical we recognise these two very different types of learning. Moreover, we must ensure our students understand the difference between the two and that we nurture their relationship with learning to do […]

The true value of a Picasso

There is a fable about Spanish artist Pablo Picasso that goes along these lines. Picasso was sitting on a park bench when a young woman came up to him and asked, “Could you draw me a picture, please?” Picasso got out his sketchpad and pencil and quickly sketched a portrait of the young woman. She […]