Nicky Morgan’s office has introduced a £5m ‘Character Innovation Fund’ for schools to apply for grants intended to make English Schools lead the way in the development of positive character traits. If the ethos of a growth mindset is a ‘towards’ challenge, then thinking of setbacks as an opportunity to learn something new is vital. We, and they, need a belief that intelligence and ability are not fixed. This statement is in direct contradiction to those with a fixed mindset, who have a belief that they are unlikely to achieve in the face of a setback and therefore are less likely to seek out challenges for fear of failure.
In some of the schools that we have been privileged to work with, we have witnessed first-hand the lengths that some students will go to in order to be ignored to keep their homework book ‘perfect’. They would rather rip out pages where they have made a slight mistake or where a teacher has marked out possible improvements and completely re-write the whole piece of work without a single blot. So imagine the consequences of this thought pattern during an examination when a mistake is made?
How can we, as parents, teachers and coaches, create an environment that will encourage a growth mindset? How can we provide our young people with the mind tools and techniques that will build resilience in those situations and ensure that the next generation grows positively in character?
One final thought on the happiness of our young people and their representation of happiness in particular: We need to help them to work out what their current “model of happiness” is and help them come to the understanding that happiness comes from within first and not only from external things. In the true sense of wellness, well-being can be subversive when young people base their happiness on external factors such as exam results, money, houses etc. What happens to their happiness when one of those doesn’t work out as they had hoped? It is far better to base their model on a more constant source of happiness.