One of our core values at Yateley Manor is happiness. It is something we strive to achieve daily within our school community. School should be a fun, exciting place where children can learn in a safe and secure environment. They should be willing to take risks when faced with challenges in their learning.
As I walked around the school site this week I was greeted by smiles and, “Hello Mr Upton” from so many of the children. It is amazing what a difference these two simple acts can have on a person. It makes me feel valued because somebody has taken the time to greet me, and it is an act that is repeated regularly across the school between children, staff and visitors alike. A sense of happiness fuels confidence in us.
When children first walk through our doors and into the Yateley Manor community, the journey towards preparing them for a successful adult life begins. To achieve, children need to feel secure in their environment. It is not, however, our nurturing environment alone that leads to children achieving their potential. Feedback is recognised as being one of the most significant positive influences on learning outcomes. How we offer feedback to children is crucial. Rather than simply praising success, we place a lot of emphasis on praising attitude to learning and persistence.
Our children learn how their ‘mindset’ can impact on their learning and progress. A mindset is a series of self-perceptions or beliefs people hold about themselves. These determine behaviour, outlook and mental attitude. The concept of ‘mindset’ has gained increasing attention since Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck introduced it in her 2007 book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”. According to Dweck, people either possess a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence and ability are static, whereas those with a growth mindset believe that intelligence is dynamic.
If children have a fixed mindset they find it hard to cope with failure. They view setbacks in a negative way and it affects their confidence and self-esteem. To cope with the challenges of a changing world, children need to learn to view mistakes and failure as positive. We believe that it is best to teach our children to seek challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep learning.
Dweck advocates the use of the word, “yet”. Add it to the phrase, “I cannot do that” and it changes the emphasis of the words completely. It acknowledges that the learning process includes challenges but that with determination, practice and resilience it could be achieved.
Barack Obama once said, “Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”
We agree wholeheartedly.