Written by Mr Darron Skinner-Martin, Director Student Services
Carol Dweck (2015) defines a Growth Mindset in the following manner. “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
As one of our College-wide responsibilities everyone has the responsibility to develop a growth mindset. When we first created these rights and responsibilities we thought it was imperative that our students understand that one of the key ways to improvement is hard work. This does not mean everyone will be an “A” but it does mean everyone can improve their results systematically for example to move from a “C” to “C+” with the hope that this steady progression will eventually lead to the best possible results in the final year of their education at Faith. Hopefully as lifelong learners our students continue learning in whatever pathway they choose.
I have seen an amazing growth in a group of Year 7 and 8 students playing in the newly established Darling Downs Rugby Union competition. Each Wednesday for the last 6 weeks, 3 teams of boys have been travelling to Warwick, Toowoomba and Gatton to play some fairly high standard rugby union. The students and their families are commended for their efforts to either spectate or pick their sons up somewhere between 9.00pm and 10.00pm each night. The Year 7/8 team started off the season with lower numbers but after a couple of games they had everyone training and working hard to improve.
Although the scoreboard results only slightly improved, their understanding of gameplay and technique improved exponentially. It is no coincidence that the team’s improvement came with everyone attending training and working hard. This is the growth mindset in action. Speaking with parents during, before and after games, all parents were really happy with the team’s gameplay and technique improvement. Seeing the boys score their last try in the last game was a demonstration of sheer joy from the boys and parents. It was also an example of a forwards type rugby try. A try that can only be scored through hard work and ultimately a growth mindset.
The other Year 9/10 and Open teams also worked hard and it was pleasing to see their growth as well. In the final game the Year 9/10 team worked hard and probably had one of their better games as well. The Opens were fortunate enough to be in the grand final and through hard work for 60 minutes were able to snatch the win in the last two minutes of the game. The majority of the Opens team have been training and playing league or union since Term 1, often training twice a week. Again, hard work is the key.
Often we have a growth mindset in our areas of interest. In this case all the boys enjoyed playing rugby so they were prepared to work hard. How do we transition this to our academics? Report cards can be used as a terrific way to analyse growth mindset. Discussing with your student the conduct, effort, work habits and so on are very important parts of the report card. Through reflection and discussion at home and at the College, it is imperative that we persevere and continue to work hard in all facets of College life, even in our areas of less interest. I encourage all parents to have deep conversations and reflections about their students learning habits and how they can improve through a more dedicated approach.
Congratulations to all the rugby teams for their work ethic and the joy you brought to the families and our rugby community. Hopefully the rugby lessons and the concept of a growth mindset can transfer into your work ethic in all classes but also in your future lives.