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How To Start Year 11 In Style - Mindset Matters

Welcome to the first part of our series on how to start Year 11 in style. In this series of short blogs, we will explore how students can really make the most of their final year of secondary school and set themselves up for success.

What do I mean by this? Well, you have to set the tone for the year ahead, your final year at secondary school. Yes, it's a big and important year. It's important to head into the year with a positive mindset.

Do you ever scroll through video clips on Instagram? I do. Sometimes, I come across cute videos of parents with their children reciting affirmations or daily mantras together.

There is a lot to be said for speaking positivity to yourself. It's part of developing a growth mindset rather than having a fixed mindset.

What is a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset means that you believe intelligence is fixed - so if you're not good at something, you might believe you'll never be good at it. This leads to hiding flaws and mistakes, feeling ashamed about 'failures', giving up easily and being unmotivated to strive for, or achieve goals.. It sees other people's successes as a threat or a source of jealousy. It views feedback as a personal attack and ignores constructive criticism.

Typical things that someone with a fixed mindset might think or say to themselves are: " This is too hard", "I can't do it", "I'm not good at this", "I give up" or "I'll never be as smart as that person."

What is a growth mindset?

In contrast, a growth mindset means that you believe your intelligence and talents can be developed over time. This leads to embracing flaws and mistakes as opportunities for growth, accepting setbacks as part of the learning process and feeling empowered to reach goals.

Typical things that someone with a growth mindset might think or say to themselves are: "With more practice, it will be easier", "This may take some time and effort", "Mistakes help me learn" and "I can try a different strategy".

Do you notice the difference here between these two mindsets?

One will ultimately lead to failure, frustration and disappointment. The other can lead to personal growth, increased confidence and achievement. Having a growth mindset is crucial to lifelong success, and it is something that students can develop with practice.

2014 research by Claro & Paunesku revealed that students who demonstrate a growth mindset:

  • perform better than students with a fixed mindset, outscoring them in maths and literacy, significantly;

  • are more likely to recognise the importance of effort in academic success;

  • seek out challenging academic tasks to enhance learning; and

  • value critical feedback.

How can students develop a growth mindset?

At,, Katherine Muncaster shares her ideas on developing a growth mindset. Here is a summary:

  1. If you make a mistake, try to bounce back. Accepting mistakes is part of the learning process. It is more valuable to consider what you have learnt and how to can help you move forward in your learning. Many of my students , will have heard me mention this idea on a regular basis.

  2. Feedback is your friend (honestly!). Try to take feedback onboard, whether it comes from your school teacher or tutor. Effective feedback should highlight what you have done well and what your next steps should be to continue to develop your learning. Reflect on your feedback because it is given to help you to make further progress.

  3. Be Kind To Yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Try to think positively and be kind to yourself.

  4. Learning is a journey. You are on your own learning journey. Try not to compare yourself with others. It generally doesn't help you. Focus on your own journey. Reflect on what you have learnt and what you need to do next to develop further. After all, it's not a race!

  5. Challenge. When you are in a learning situation at school, with a tutor or maybe even revising at home, would you choose to do things that will challenge you? Or would you always choose the easier option? The level of challenge we choose should be appropriate. By that I mean, it shouldn't be too much, but not too easy either. If challenge is at the right level, new connections can be made in your brain and for you to develop as a learner.

Your challenge if you choose to accept it (sounds like something out of a Mission Impossible Movie) is to try to embrace challenges as an opportunity to develop on your learning journey.

Next time: Organisation

Alison Bolsover, 12/08/2022

Owner, Client Manager and Tutor,

Jurassic Coast Tutors.

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