Learning Agility

The Five Elements of Effort

Have you noticed a difference between how we assess student performance and how we assess student effort? We tend to use more formative assessment methods for performance and more summative assessment methods for effort. Let me explain. In my experience, most schools evaluate student effort using a linear scale from low to high or unsatisfactory […]

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 […]

How to Get Out of the Learning Pit

The Learning Pit is a powerful analogy for learning that is used by schools around the world. In its simplest form, the Learning Pit represents a challenge. Taking on a challenge is like getting into a pit. We may feel uncertain and it takes effort to climb out. When we do climb out, it means […]

How to raise the bar on student performance

At one point or another, everyone experiences growth like this: We start learning something new. The early stages of learning are easy. We quickly master the basics and we experience relatively rapid growth and progress. But after a while, learning becomes difficult. Progress slows. Eventually, it stops and we reach our “limit”. This is what […]

McEnroe vs Federer: A battle of Mindset

In her book, Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success, Professor Carol Dweck uses John McEnroe as an example of a person with a Fixed Mindset. I think he’s a great example for many reasons. You can’t argue with the fact McEnroe was an extraordinary tennis player. He is ranked 6th in the list of most […]

Learning Agility – Lessons form South Africa

Last week, I collaborated with a wonderful organisation: Thinking Schools South Africa (TSSA). Together we worked with more than 600 educators from all over South Africa in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, It was my third trip to South Africa, and each one has been a truly amazing experience. My first visit in 2011 left […]

How hard can it be?

How hard can it be? According to research by [1]McKinsey & Company, it’s critically important that students can accurately answer that question. It turns out that a student’s ability to identify the cost of achieving their goals is linked to increased academic performance. Using data from the 2015 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) across […]

Mindsets Matter – but that’s only half the story

There is no doubt that Mindsets matter. Research clearly shows that a student’s Mindset is extremely important. For example: [1]A study of all 10th-grade students in Chile(more than 160,000 students) showed that holding a Growth Mindset predicted academic achievement across every socioeconomic level. In California, data from [2]more than 100,000 middle schoolers found that students’ […]

What should Mindset-savvy parents look for in a school?

I received an email from a parent recently, asking me if I could recommend a good Growth Mindset school for her child. What a fascinating question! Growth Mindsets are in the public eye. Parents are beginning to recognise the importance of developing a Growth Mindset in their children, to the point where some are looking […]

Growth Mindset and Academic results are not separate goals

Last week, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a story entitled “[1]Reduce HSC pressure in favour of a ‘growth mindset’, NSW tells David Gonski”. While the article raises some interesting points, the headline should not be misinterpreted to mean that a Growth Mindset is more important than academic results. A Growth Mindset is not an alternative […]