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Module 1: Growth Mindsets for Teachers and Learners

Keeping a Teacher Portfolio

What is a teacher portfolio? A teaching portfolio is a record of your achievements and progress as a teacher. Why is a teacher portfolio important? The Benitta teachers who are interested in developing their professional development could keep a teacher portfolio. We believe they are a valuable way to record your ongoing development. When teachers select an entry for their portfolio, not only do they have to think or discuss, but they also need to write down their ideas and reflections. Reflective writing provides teachers with an opportunity to focus, organise, edit their ideas, and finally to reflect upon them in print. And, perhaps most importantly, the written documents are always available to be reviewed, and to serve as clear evidence of the teacher's thinking, reasoning, and actions. The Teaching Portfolio: A Tool to Become a Reflective Teacher. Available at the Teachers Resource for download. How can keeping a teacher portfolio support your teaching practice and your role as a teacher? Keeping a teaching portfolio is not compulsory but we think that it is an essential way of demonstrating your learning and progress as a teacher during the time you spend on the course. The course provides you with information and new ways of thinking about teaching. We can provide you with a certificate that says that you have undertaken this course, but what we can't say is how you used it. The portfolio gives you an opportunity to demonstrate what you have learned from the course and how you have used the knowledge in it to develop your teaching. It is something that you might use in the future, as additional evidence of your willingness to improve yourself. It might be used to demonstrate to employers your interest and capabilities as a teacher, or as evidence of your studies for further education courses. It is also useful for you to reflect on what you have learned. Keeping a Teacher Portfolio :

  • All About Me
    • Name
    • School
    • Grade taught
    • Any responsibilities
  • My Teaching Philosophy
    • What are your goals as a teacher?
    • Why did you choose to become a teacher?
    • Has your approach to teaching changed as your career has progressed?
    • What do you feel effective teaching looks like?
    • What are your preferred methods or teaching strategies and why?
    • What challenges do you face when teaching?
  • Workshops/ Training Attended
    • Keep a record of any training you have attended, including dates, worksheets and follow-up activities.
  • Evidence of Change and Progression of Skills
    • Evidence of where you have changed your teaching practice after training, research, classroom, observations etc.
    • Include samples of learners' work, lesson plans, photographs etc if you can.
  • Lesson Observations
    • Keep evidence of any lesson observations from your peers or senior leadership team
    • Show how you plan to develop the areas identified in the observation as needing improvement.
  • Lesson Plans
    • Examples of lesson plans you have reflected on after teaching the lesson
    • Note down where you have included new strategies or techniques
  • Assessment
    • Keep a record of learner assessments to help you monitor their progress
    • Record any assessment strategies you find effective and why
  • Professional Development Action Plan
    • Identify areas you would like to develop further.
      • How will you do this? (peer observations / planning / training and so on)
      • How often will you update your own action plan?
      • How will you monitor your own progress?
  • Personal Interests
    • Include articles, newspaper clippings, photographs; anything you think is interesting and would like to reflect on as a teacher.
Teaching Portfolio Summary It demonstrates;
  • Your own personal philosophy of teaching
  • Evidence of your learning from training you have received
  • Opportunities to record your self-reflection on areas of strength and those that need developing
It serves as a continuous tool to reflect, evaluate and monitor your own teaching and performance, in order to develop your teaching skills and continue to raise learning outcomes for the children you teach.

Finding a Learning Partner

The importance of a learning partner Humans are social animals, and we often learn best from each other. We would like to encourage you to find a learning partner if you haven’t already done so. This should be a fellow teacher - they could be more or less experienced than you, or have been teaching for the same amount of time; their experience isn’t important. Why have a learning partner? Who will be your learning partner? You could use this table to find a colleague with the right qualities to be a successful learning partner! To use the table, consider your colleagues and who you think you would work well with. Then have a look at the qualities listed on the table and see how many of them you think they have. If they have more than five, they should be a suitable and positive partner to help you develop your teaching practice. You could also consider which of these qualities do you have (and are there any you need to work on?).

How do you approach learning? / How do children you teach tackle new challenges?

A professor from the USA, Carol Dweck, has profoundly changed the way we think about learning. When she was a child at school, a teacher chose to sit learners at their desks in the order of their IQ, of their intelligence, and that gave her a lifetime’s curiosity about intelligence. Is it fixed? Or can we improve our own intelligence? Dr Dweck’s research has helped us understand the difference between a fixed mindset, and a growth mindset, and how we can use this to maximise the learning potential in the children we teach. Short Task 1. Consider if you think this is fair, or correct. 2. You could discuss this with your learning partner.

The language of mindsets (The power of believing that you can improve)

What is a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset is when you believe that intelligence is something that you have or don’t have.

  • You might have been raised to believe that everyone in your family is no good at Maths.
  • You might dislike challenges, as they make you think you that you’re not as clever as you would like to be.
  • Or you give up easily, and see effort as a waste of time, as you either know it - or you don’t.
  • You can feel threatened by someone who is able to do something you can’t do.
  • You don’t believe you can get better at something.

What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is when you have a strong belief that your intelligence can be developed.

  • You welcome challenges as you see them as a chance to learn.
  • You continually ask yourself if you can improve something.
  • You persevere when things get difficult, and keep going.
  • You see effort as a path to getting better at a skill, not as a reason to stop.
  • You believe feedback is incredibly helpful, and positive criticism is a way to get better at things.
  • You are inspired by the success of others, and see it as another way to learn and succeed yourself.

What is your learning mindset?

Do you generally have a fixed or growth mindset? What is your usual approach to learning something new? The activity below will help you consider which mindset you use most often. Activity 1. Look at the following learning opportunities in the column on the left in the table below. 2. You could print this table from the downloadable resources or draw it on paper. 3. Write the response in the middle column that springs to mind when you read each one. 4. Think about why you wrote that response, and write your explanation in the column on the right. There are some example responses on the next page if you would like some ideas. Keep this activity in your teaching portfolio.

Example Responses

Here are some example responses, but yours will probably be completely different! Activity 1. Discuss your responses with your learning partner.TIP - You could think about these independently if you do not have a learning partner. 2. Consider if you think they demonstrate a fixed or growth mindset

Reflections on the activity

Look back at your responses to the learning activities written on the previous page, and to the responses then given in the example table. All the responses given in the table show a fixed mindset; a lack of willingness to engage, or a belief in the ability to change. Where did your thoughts on those challenges sit? Did you have a fixed or growth mindset response? Activity

  1. Write 'fixed' or 'growth' next to each of your responses.
  2. What might you change about your language after completing the table.
  3. Keep the evidence of this activity in your teaching portfolio, as it helps to demonstrate that you have thought about how you approach your own learning opportunities.

Growth Mindsets in Your Teaching

Now it’s time for some reflection on your own teaching practice. Having the right mindset is not just important for you as a learner, but also for the learners you teach. If we believe a child is ‘slow’ or ‘they always find things difficult’, we are limiting their possibilities for growth and success. We must always believe that the children we teach can develop their potential, in the same way that we also can as adults. Short Task Reflect on these statements for a moment before continuing the course. If we believe this of our learners, we reduce what they can achieve and what we believe they can achieve. This language takes away the possibility of change.

What is the difference between ability and attainment?

Short Task Consider what these two words mean - how do they fit with a fixed or a growth mindset? Discuss your thoughts with your learning partner. Click on the tabs below to find an explanation, and a short reflection activity. The Difference between 'ability' and 'attainment' If we describe a learner as low ability, it suggests that their ability is fixed, and they cannot improve at something. We must think of a learner as currently attaining at a lower level instead, and that with your help and guidance, they will be able to climb that ladder and attain (to work at) at a higher level. Using the word attainment shows where they are now, but it does not imply that they will always be in the same position. It is growth mindset language. Check your understanding before continuing the course. Ability = Limiting, fixed mindset Attainment = room for progress, growth mindset Quick Reflection Activity Consider the learners in your class and if you need to shift your language ad thinking from the 'ability' they possess to the 'attainment level' they are achieving at instead.

Change in attainment = growth

We have now explored that if we describe a learner as low ability, it can suggest their ability is fixed, and they cannot improve at something. It is better to think of a learner as currently attaining at a lower level instead, and that with your help and guidance, they will be able to climb that ladder and attain (to achieve) at a higher level. Using the word attainment shows where they are now, but it does not imply that they will always be in the same position. It is growth mindset language. The image below shows the possible progression of a learner over a few school months. The image shows how a learner may be struggling with a particular topic or method and will need extra support to understand it. However, once they understand it, they may well then improve their attainment level, and progress to work at the class average level - or beyond.

What would a growth mindset teacher look like?

Professors Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser from the University of British Columbia, Canada say that a growth mindset teacher has;

  • Strong Moral Purpose
    • Successful teachers are aware of why they chose to teach and the difference they can make.
  • Trust
    • ​​​​​​​Growth mindset teachers build trust in their teacher/learner relationships, so learners feel confident to try and fail. They understand this is how they learn.
  • Deep Learning
    • They move away from just coverage of content and continually ask themselves 'How can I help my learners learn in greater depth?'
  • Enquiry / Innovation
    • ​​​​​​​The strongest teachers have a growth mindset and are always questioning 'Why? How can I do this better? Differently?'
  • Evidence Seeking
    • They are always observing their learners, to really know them, to understand what they know and don't know, and how to support them with their own growth mindsets.
  • Adult Learning
    • Successful learners fully understand that they are still learners too and take responsibility for their own continued professional development.
  • Networking
    • Successful teachers try to connect with other teachers to improve their practice and learn from each other.
All of these mindsets show a teacher who sees that they too are always learning, that they continue to improve their practice as their career progresses. They are as much a work in progress as the children they teach. Short Task
  1. Consider which of these mindsets you have.
  2. Are there any you could develop?

Mindsets in the classroom - praise

So what do a fixed mindset and a growth mindset look like in the classroom? The most effective way a teacher can encourage a growth mindset is through the praise that they give to their learners. Often we will say ‘well done’ or ‘clever boy’ to a learner. Does this help them develop their skills? How does it tell them what they did well, and where they could improve further? Short Task

  • Discuss this with your learning partner.
  • Consider the question independently if you are working alone.

The language of feedback and praise

Here are some fixed mindset words and phrases that a teacher might give to their learners. Read them through, and re-write them as growth mindset ones instead. Do this alone or with your learning partner. The first one has been completed as an example; you might have more than one suggestion for each phrase. Draw this table or use the one from the downloadable resources. Keep evidence of this activity in your teacher portfolio. Share your thoughts with other teachers if possible.

Growth mindset language from teachers

Here are some of our ideas. Are they similar to yours? Read them through and think about them alone or with your learning partner. Sometimes a short and quick 'well done' or 'correct' IS the right praise to give. But often we could do better if we considered what growth mindset language we could use instead. As teachers, we need to consider ourselves a coach, working with our learners to help move them forwards.

Mindset language in your learners

You might hear these fixed mindset phrases or sentences from learners in your classroom. Activity Work on your own or with your learning partner to change these fixed mindset phrases into growth mindset language. Draw this table or use the one from the downloadable resources. Keep evidence of this activity in your teacher portfolio.

Mindset language in your learners (activity example)

What ideas did you have for how to change the fixed mindset language from learners into growth mindset language instead? Consider our examples below and the ones you wrote. You are unlikely to hear phrases exactly like this in your classroom, but this kind of growth mindset language from learners is what we should hope to hear.

Who do you know with a growth mindset?

The last few pages and activities have been exploring fixed and growth mindset language used by both teachers and learners. Consider both your learners and your colleagues. Who would you say generally has a growth mindset approach to life? How do you know? Think about how they approach challenges, how they respond to difficulties, and their general attitude to life. Now think about your learners or colleagues who you feel have a fixed mindset approach. Does this help them? You don't need to record this activity unless you wish to (you could have some annoyed colleagues!), but it is good to reflect both on ourselves and those around us, to see how our approach to life can determine our success.

Identifying different types of praise and feedback in your own teaching practice

Successful teachers continually reflect on their own practice, both independently and with their colleagues or learning partners. This activity will ensure you are fully aware of the language you are using in your teaching, and any changes you might you could make. Activity Ask your learning partner to observe you teach. Tell them they need to write down every piece of praise or feedback you give in the lesson, including any written feedback. TIP - they could observe just part of a lesson if you are short on time. At the end of the lesson, explore the phrases they have written down. TIP - This is not a lesson observation, but your learning partner is helping you to identify key parts of your own teaching practice by recording the feedback you give to your learners. Your learning partner might hear praise or feedback like the ones listed below. Good Work Well Done Are you sure? Try again Don't ask me again How do you know? What else could you do? Wrong They are likely to have many more examples than this if they observe you for a whole lesson.

Sorting your language


  1. After the lesson, when you have time to meet with your learning partner, read through the phrases they recorded.
  2. Sort them into two groups; fixed mindset and growth mindset.
  3. You could do this on your own or with your learning partner.
Fixed Mindset - feedback that doesn’t encourage the learners to think further, or to believe they can improve their own performance. Growth Mindset - feedback that identifies what learners did well so they continue to develop this skill, or that helps them to improve. This activity might seem rather daunting at first, but remember that your learning partner should be someone with whom you feel comfortable, and who is supportive of your own professional development.

Reflections on the activity

Let’s reflect on the language you use when you are teaching. Consider these questions.

  • Did the phrases your learning partner recorded you saying surprise you at all?
  • Did you find yourself using language that praised intelligence rather than the effort the learner had shown to find the correct (or incorrect!) answer?
  • Did your feedback help your learners progress? How?
  • Look at how you sorted the feedback you gave into the two groups, fixed mindset and growth mindset.
  • How can you change the language from the fixed mindset feedback to make it growth mindset feedback? Some examples are shown below. TIP: You may need to spend some time talking this through with your learning partner.
This table is available in the downloadable resources or you can draw your own. Keep it in your teaching portfolio as you will use this to help create your action plan.

How will you change your classroom language?

After your reflection on the classroom observation activity, the next step is to use this to adapt and develop the language you use in your classroom to establish a growth mindset in your learners. Here are some top tips to help you:

  • Allow your learners to express their opinions and challenge yours. This will help develop their critical thinking skills.
  • Only give praise when it is due. Try not to 'overpraise' as you want your learners to recognise what they have achieved through hard work. For example, when they have edited and made changes to their work, praise the final result.
  • Make all feedback count. Make it specific to what has gone well, could be done differently, or needs improving.
  • Model a positive attitude; when something goes wrong, adapt and learn from it, expressing vocally how you are overcoming the challenge. Children will follow your lead and copy what you do.
Admit when you make a mistake - show your learners that adults can make mistakes at times, and that's how we learn. Add humour to your lessons wherever you can - what we enjoy, we remember!

What next?

Consider the following questions.

  • Why is the development of a growth mindset so important?
  • How can you develop a growth mindset in your learners?
  • What do you need to consider in your planning for teaching and learning that will reflect your intention to develop growth mindsets in your learners?
  • How will you provide the kind of feedback that will lead to the development of a growth mindset - as opposed to the forms of praise that create a fixed one?
  • Is there anything you will now change or adapt in your classroom or your teaching so you use a more growth mindset approach?
We suggest you write these down and answer them, (or use the table from the PDF resources) and keep the questions and your responses in your teaching portfolio.

Change your words and change your mindset!

Classroom Activity Make a poster for your classroom with the examples below to show your learners what a growth mindset looks and sounds like. The first phrase is fixed mindset language, and the phrase in italics is using growth mindset language instead. You could provide the content for the poster yourself, or ask your learners for their ideas and contributions.

Classroom activity with your learners

To successfully introduce and use growth mindsets in your classroom, you will need to do a fixed and growth mindset activity with your learners. Here is a suggested activity. Do adapt it to suit your context.

  • Ask your class to reflect on something they have learned how to do recently. It could be in or outside of school. (they could use the Think Pair Share technique if you are familiar with this). Ask the learners to share their reflections with the class.
  • Ask them if they found their recent learning easy or difficult. What helped them? Did they feel positive as they were learning or did they want to give up?
  • Write some of their thoughts on the board, and see if you can sort them into two groups - positive and negative thoughts.
  • Ask the class which thoughts they think helped them, and kept them motivated. And which ones can they now see weren't helpful thoughts?
  • Explain to your learners that we can either feel negative (fixed mindset) or positive (growth mindset) about our learning experiences and potential.
  • There are some growth mindset phrases you could display in your classroom on the next page.
There are some growth mindset phrases you could display in your classroom on the next page.

Growth mindset phrases to display in your classroom

This is a different poster idea to make for your classroom as it only shows growth mindset language. You could make these phrases into a poster, or you could ask your learners for their suggestions and make one together. Refer to them regularly, and ask your learners if they are using growth mindset language? If you hear fixed mindset or negative words, ask them to look at the poster and think what could they say instead?

Action Plan, Final Notes and Course Summary

All the time! A growth mindset can be used in any school environment, whether you teach in an economically poor community, or in one with plenty of resources and no financial pressures; in a class with many children; whether you are new to teaching or experienced; any time and anywhere! As Dr Dweck says; “We need leaders to create transformed schools using a new growth mindset: The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. A growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way - in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” Carol Dweck. (2006: 6-7). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

My Action Plan


  1. Think about what you have learned about your teaching practice from this course, and the activities you have completed.
  2. Use this knowledge to build your own action plan, to ensure you keep learning and developing as a teacher.
  3. Have a look at the example below; click on each tab to read the ideas.
  • What would I like to improve?
    • My feedback to learners during the lesson
  • Why?
    • I want to use more growth mindset language with them
  • How will I do it?
    • Display the growth mindset phrases in my classroom
    • Only praise my learners when they have done something well, and have showed effort.
    • Make sure I encourage a growth mindset in all my learners, not just the ones who find things easy.
  • When will I review my action plan?
    • At the end of term.
Who will you share your action plan with? We suggest sharing your goals with your learning partner on what you would like to improve. They may well have some excellent ideas for you. Working with our peers is one of the most valuable things we can do as teachers.

Important Instructions:

1) There are total of 20 questions

2) The time of the complete test for this module is 30 min. 

3) Minimum pass mark is 80%.

4) You can re-attempt the quiz how many times you want. 

Share us your experience and what have you learned from this module. Please also share with us the best way you would be applying what you have learned in this module while taking your sessions from school or home. 

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