Saturday, 28 February 2015

What Jessie J has taught me about growth mindset!

Last night I was reflecting on my 28 days of writing efforts and feeling pretty embarrassed about my dismal attempt. This is the last day of 28 and I've managed to publish just 18 posts including this one.... a.bys.mal.

As I was sitting staring at my laptop in front of the tv waiting for inspiration to strike for another post, I was beating myself up about my very disappointing efforts. 17 posts in 28 days? How come so many other educators managed to write 28 posts...and not just good posts.....phenomenal, inspiring posts, all 28 of them with new insights and challenges and beautifully crafted. I was deeply engaged in my own negative self-talk; "I'm not good enough" I told myself as that great philosopher of the modern era, Jessie J came on to perform on the Graham Norton show.

Apparently this image has a "Creative Commons" licence.

Next thing she was singing these words.....

Wow! Just what I needed to hear.......the great Jessie J was singing right to me! ;) As an aside, this is a great song for teaching growth mindset or would be if I could work out how to beep out the nawty words! 

What a great lesson in growth mindset "28 days of writing" has been. Our Year 7/8 team is currently fully immersed in a Unit of Inquiry on mindset for learning. We've been really exploring our own self-talk and I've come to the realisation that I can be incredibly hard on myself. The girls in 8CF inform me that the biggest challenge for many of them is going to be changing their self-talk when faced with the success of their peers and I know they are onto something. At times during the month, the incredible quality of others' posts took my breath away. Rather than being inspired though, I let it totally get the better of me, becoming quite intimidated and giving up. But I need to take a leaf out of Jessie's book and hum this tune....... 

"I wanna hang with the greatest, gotta way to go but it's worth the wait......." 

She's right you know, old Jessie J. Sure, I have only managed 18 posts in February but that's 17 more than January! And yes some of them were pretty light and fluffy about extremely important subjects like whether schools should send out class lists at the end of the year or allocate desks in class! But in others I really put myself out there which is quite an achievement for someone who is scared of conflict! That's growth, right there. 

Yesterday, I read my girls this beautiful book from the ever- amazing Mark and Rowan Sommerset. 

Just like Jessie J, these little bugs have lots to teach us about the power of optimism and having a growth mindset. I could choose to be like the blue bug, blown away and allowing myself to feel intimidated by the many talented writers in my PLN, eventually giving up. Then again, I could choose to be like the red bug, proud of what I've achieved and facing towards the sun! I could read the posts of others and be inspired by them, asking myself, "How does she do it? What can I learn from her?" Being the blue bug can sometimes be the easier option; it needs less courage and effort and its risk of failing. But boy, what a miserable way to live.........

For the month of March, I choose to be the red bug.

Thank you so much to Tom Barrett for starting the 28 Days of Writing adventure! I'm so glad I joined in. 


  1. You did better than me - I achieved 5 posts in mytwo didifferent blogging personnas. I love the fact your class has been learning about mindset and discussing how dedtructive self talk can be. This is ssomething I struggle with constantly as an adult and experienced professional. It's hard to focus on all the wonderful things I've achieved when the negative thoughts come galloping into my head about how I could have handled that situation better or taught this a different way. It's great you're teaching that awareness at this crucial time in thir journey of life and learning.

  2. We talk about mindset A LOT at our school too. It's such a powerful learning area. Many of my (grade 6/7) students are very good at helping themselves and others by gently saying "yet" or "but" after hearing "I'm not very good at this". I hope you share your #28daysofwriting experience with your classes... I think it demonstrates beautifully the power of self talk. I look forward to reading more of your blog! :-)

  3. Love this post Bridget! Totally agree about Jessie J too. Listened to that song this morning while I was finishing cupcakes... will blog further to explain why but it definitely got me thinking about how I teach and why I wake up early to make cupcakes to reward students with their growth mindsets and continuation to outperform themselves from the day or weeks before :)