In 2012, the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research undertook a wide-ranging review of several hundred studies into education. Their comprehensive report makes clear the extent to which what they term ‘non-cognitive’ factors impact on student achievement in school.
Academic performance, their study indicates, can only be accounted for by a close understanding of the factors that create the conditions for successful learning.
Of these factors comes, first and foremost, having the right mindset. A growth mindset encourages the belief that hard work pays off and leads, in turn, to the will to meet and stick with challenges. It is this commitment that gives rise to a consistent approach to schoolwork, which results, in due course, in a strong academic performance.
At ICHK this research has informed the development of our 5+1 Model for fostering and nurturing success in our students. 5+1 is based on the work of five thinkers in education and beyond. It provides us with guidance on how to foster a growth mindset and how to support students into the “learning zone” through an imaginative, innovative curriculum, experienced in an environment of safety and trust.
The +1 is the individual student – unique in his or her combination of temperament, life experience, interests and enthusiasms. It is in tailoring learning to this unique profile that our small classes, led by experienced and passionate teachers, truly find their strength.
5 Theories of Learning
At ICHK the development of a Growth Mindset is fundamental to the school’s approaches to learning. All students learn that it is effort, commitment, perseverance and resilience, rather than ‘intelligence’ or ‘talent’ which will lead to high achievement and success in life. Believing that hard work, perseverance, risk taking and endurance pay off, is critical for academic achievement.
World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has conducted decades of research on achievement and success. Her work is centrally concerned with the question of how people’s beliefs about their intelligence affect their motivation and achievement in academic and other contexts. Her research indicates that people tend to develop one of two mindsets – fixed or growth.
She says: “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.”
In the secondary years, the development of a Growth Mindset is key to the 5+1 model.
To learn more about Carol Dweck’s research you may wish to consider reading articles from the BBC, Scientific American and ASCD, or watching some of the videos on the right hand side of this page.