The Power of YET


Growth Mind-set at Whiston Junior and Infants School

At Whiston Junior and Infant School,  we believe that we have a responsibility to develop 21st century, lifelong learners. In order to do this, we have developed our own Learning to Learn curriculum, based on proven research into growth mind-set and the positive impact it has on learning and the mental wellbeing of learners of any age group.  We believe that successful learners are resilient, reflective, collaborative, curious and independent.

What is Grow Mind-set?

Growth Mind-set describes how a child faces challenges and setbacks. Children with a growth mind-set believe their abilities can improve over time. By comparison, children with a fixed mind-set think their abilities are a set trait that can’t change, no matter how hard they try. 

Research by American psychologist Professor Carol Dweck, of Stanford University, has shown that how we view ourselves as learners has a huge impact on what we are able to achieve. She suggests that people broadly fall into one of two categories: those with a fixed mind-set and those with a growth mind-set. Those of us with a fixed mind-set believe that we have a pre-determined amount of intelligence, skills or talents which cannot be changed, whereas those of us with growth mind-set believe that we can develop our abilities, intelligence or talents with persistence, effort and a focus on learning.

Fixed mind-set thinking can result in:


· a fear of failure and therefore a refusal to take risks

· the belief that if you have to work for success you are not clever

· a desire to blame others or outside circumstances when things don’t go your way     · being motivated by reward and praise from others



Growth mind-set thinking can result in:


· a love for learning and self-improvement

· a desire to be challenged

· a willingness to work for positive results

· a belief that you can control the outcomes in your life with effort and practice

· the ability to learn from mistakes and failures

· emotional resilience

· being self-motivated


What are we doing in school?

The language of growth mind-set is being further developed by all classroom practitioners.  Children are framing their responses to tasks in relation to our Learning to Learn skills, and welcoming self-selected challenge and the learning that comes from ‘failure’.  Self-assessment, personal target setting, Peer reflection and feedback have become a part of everyday learning in conjunction with teacher feedback, and children are learning how to deliver and receive this positively. 

Every week our Excellence assembly is based on Learning to Learn skills and children receive rewards for their effort’s within the 5 skills.  In addition, the daily class reward system (Dojos) is based on the five skills.

This is what our children think ...

"Learning to learn skills have helped me a lot this year because I can now collaborate to improve my own work and improve my peers work. I’ve now become very creative with my learning and not afraid to ask for help. I’m not afraid to fail and I’m always up for a challenge."

"Learning to learn skills has helped me to be more independent, I went from I give up with this work, to I can do it if I try. I have learnt to grow my brain and now I can help my peers more. I will always be up for a challenge!"

"The learning to learn skills have made me more confident with my work. I have also made myself more independent and creative by the power of yet!"

"Learning to learn skills have made me feel more confident in my learning at choosing harder challenges, If I fail I will try again until I get it correct."

"The skills of growth mind set have helped me because I have become more confident and now I know sometimes I can fail because fail means first attempt in learning."

"Growth mindset has helped me this year because before I came into year five I was scared to fail but growth mindset made me realise that it actually it means…FIRST ATTEMPT IN LEARNING."

"The powers of growth mind-set has made me be a lot more confident and now I don’t settle for easy instead , I choose a challenge."

"Learning to learn skills has helped me to be more independent and more curious but also to improve my work and my peers. I now understand that it is ok to ask for help and now I just want to seek more and more challengers."

"I have really enjoyed the skills of growth mind-set because it’s helped me become more confident in learning. I now don’t feel upset or angry when I fail because fail stands for first attempt in learning. When I came into year 5 I felt more resilient and brave after a few weeks."

How can you help your child develop a growth mind-set?

Praise carefully – not for intelligence but for effort (process not outcome)

There is a fascinating research study by Carol Dweck into the impact of praise. When children were given praise based on their ability / intelligence / how smart they were, their performance in subsequent, more challenging activities was less than those children who had had their effort praised. Furthermore children given ‘Fixed Mind-set Praise’ were less likely to volunteer for harder challenges.


Try to focus on the processes they used; their strategies, effort, or choices. 

ü  What did you learn today? 

ü  What did you try hard at today?

ü  What mistake did you make that taught you something?

ü  What was a challenge today? 

ü  What did you practice today? 

ü  Encourage deliberate practice and targeted effort 

ü  Encourage the children to stretch themselves with challenging tasks 

ü  Discuss errors and mistakes and help your child to see them as opportunities to learn and improve 

ü  Have family discussions about mind-set and which mind-set they (and you?) are choosing to use.

ü  Teach children to think positively and to believe in themselves

ü  Redefine the meaning of a few ordinary words:

ü  Effort is… the secret to getting smarter         

ü  Difficult is… challenging – an exciting opportunity for risk taking and having a go

ü  Mistakes are … learning opportunities

ü  Start using the word YET to shift thinking from being in a fixed mind-set to being in a growth mind-set. When you hear… “I can’t do it” … rephrase and add “yet”. “You can’t do it yet, is there anything I can do to help you?”



Teach your child to rephrase

Further information on growth mind-set can be found on the following websites

Dr Carol Dweck’s. “Mnidset: how you can fulfil your potential” is available in most book shops and online. Chapters 1, 2, 7 and 8 are most suited to children.