The View From My Study – 13th October

Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason so few engage in it.” Consider this for a moment. Everyone gets so used to their own routines that habits form and we fall into a comfortable cycle doing what we do and knowing what we know. Some schools can be so focused on establishing formality, structure and an adherence to rules that the students within soon forget how to think for themselves. I don’t believe this is right.

As my colleagues and I consider how we can enhance the academic curriculum, we know that the key is to develop the cognitive abilities of the pupils. A child who is going to be successful in the mid-21st century is a child who knows how to think, a child who can reason and substantiate their opinions, challenge perceived wisdoms, be willing to try ideas in the pursuit of solving a problem and then try again if it does not work the first time. Dr Carol Dwek calls this the “Growth Mindset” and this is what we strive to develop at BG.

Through our learner profile, we are trying to embed some core habits of learning so that the children can take responsibility for their learning in partnership with their teachers. We are encouraging them to ask more questions and to reflect more frequently about the process. These are important thinking skills. As teachers we are investing time into the research, understanding and benefits of an ‘active learning’ approach and we’re imparting this to the pupils to ensure they are as involved in their development as possible.

The goal is to create can-do attitudes rather than fixed mindsets that hide behind a lack of self-belief and I believe our ‘active learning’ approach will nurture the natural malleability of each pupil’s intellect so that motivation and achievement increase in unison. With this approach I am certain that Biltonians will enjoy successful futures wherever they are.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Gareth Jones, Headmaster

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