Hobnobs at St. Wilfrid’s
What is a Growth Mindset?
Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor of psychology, was interested in finding out how malleable a student’s intelligence really is. She designed and led several substantial bodies of research which led to the idea that people either have a fixed or a growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset see intelligence as being inherent, that they are born with a certain ‘amount’ of intelligence and that this cannot change. Those with a fixed mindset believe that they are good at some things naturally but do not see reason to develop other talents or skills beyond their current abilities.
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset see intelligence as fluid; something which can increase and flourish through hard work, grit and resilience. This is what we want to promote at St. Wilfrid’s; we want our students to realise that the combination of hard work, grit and resilience could result in their ultimate success.
There is a famous comedy sketch in which Peter Kay compares the Rich Tea biscuit to the Hobnob, in terms of their success in being dunked into a cup of tea. Kay suggest that a Rich Tea biscuit can only take one dunk before ‘giving up’ and disintegrating. A Hobnob, on the other hand, can be dunked several times and maintains its shape; it doesn’t want to ‘give up’. Comparing biscuits to mindset, we can draw parallels between fixed mindset and the Rich Tea, and growth mindset and the Hobnob.
In short then, we want our students to keep ‘dunking’ themselves into challenging work, into work that they can’t do straight away, into work that really makes them think, and not give up even if they don’t succeed in the first few tries. We want our students to remain resilient and gritty when the going gets tough. We want our students to be Hobnobs!