As Mathematics teachers, we have all at some point heard the confession: ‘I have just never been that good at Maths’. To some, the subject is seen as one in which only a lucky few have the raw talent to truly succeed. However, the truth is far from that. The concept ‘growth mindset’ developed by Carol Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, promotes the exact opposite. Pupils with a fixed mindset believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are unchangeable fixed traits and that this talent alone creates success—without effort. This is simply incorrect. Those with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed, that in fact effort creates success—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
Runnymede’s Mathematics Department has used a variety of strategies to encourage pupils to develop a growth mindset. By encouraging our pupils to take risks and view mistakes as an opportunity to learn, they have become more creative, productive and successful pupils. Through the use of classroom-based activities, pupils are guided to reflect on how they learn and thus become more independent thinkers. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and even sports.
Pupils have been encouraged to extend their learning and experiences further than the classroom with several activities being planned throughout the year. Pi Day was held again with great success. There was a range of thought-provoking activities and a Mathematics themed cake sale raising over 100€ for the School’s chosen charity. Year 13 Further Mathematics pupils also attended an insightful ‘Mathematics in Action’ conference at University College London, where they were introduced to the implications of Mathematics in Cyber Security and the beauty of the fascinating Mandelbrot Set. Furthermore, out of the 214 who took part in the UK Mathematics Challenge, more than half were awarded certificates! Manuel A., Elena V., Cristobal A. and Diego C. were invited to take part in the second round, in which both Manuel and Elena were awarded Merits for their outstanding achievement. New bi-weekly challenges of different levels introduced by Miss García have also been of great success. All entries were rewarded for effort and correct solutions regularly uploaded onto the website to celebrate their achievements.
Congratulations must be given to the 13 pupils who achieved A* in the A Level and the outstanding Laura L., Santiago R. and Alonso M. who all earned the prestigious A* in Further Mathematics; 14 of these pupils have chosen to continue on to study Mathematics related courses at university. I would like to take this moment to thank the teaching staff within the Department as there is no denying that the success of our pupils is as a direct result of their excellent work.