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Growth Mindset has been imbedded into the Symphony Maths program.
“At Symphony Learning, we believe that every student can become a successful mathematician. By committing to hard work, embracing mistakes as opportunities, and celebrating flexible thinking, we can create dynamic and positive environments for change. The powerful ideas of Growth Mindset guide the design of our Symphony Maths program, and we strive to deliver a tool that helps students and teachers embrace the beauty of mathematics.” Paul Schwarz Symphony Math Founder and CEO.

Paul holds a Masters of Education, specialising in Educational Media Design, from Boston University, and has taught courses in Educational Media Development at the Boston University School of Education and Yale University.



Symphony Math Buzz Newsletters
The Symphony Math Buzz Newsletters are a powerful resource for implementing positive and practical changes in the math class.

Learn helpful insights from educators and world experts including Dr. Carol Dweck and Dr. Jo Boaler:

  • The Power of Mistakes – instead of allowing students to hide their errors and feel a failure, try to present errors in a positive light, and encourage discussion about them.
  • Now versus Yet – Simply adding the word ‘yet’ to student’s negative statements e.g. “I can’t do this – YET” gives students permission to not know something now, while giving hope that they will be able to learn it.
  • Losing the Answer Key - don’t be tempted to automatically give the answer when students struggle which can actually halt learning, instead allow students the time and support to make sense of mathematical ideas.

Increase student learning potential by changing their mindset about failure!
A Growth Mindset framework helps students to achieve greater success when they are taught to embrace their mistakes as part of the learning journey. Instead of allowing students to believe math is too hard, or that they are just not a math person, we need to teach them that success requires hard work – and if you work hard you will improve. Mistakes are a valuable and essential part of learning!

Science has shown that if we face a hard task and stick to it, neurons in our brain grow. Once students understand that their brains actually grow and learn when they make mistakes, then they can be more easily encouraged to put in the extra time and effort that leads to higher learning outcomes.

Those who became the best in their fields didn’t just give up the first time they failed. They tried again and again, explored new ways to achieve, and trained hard until they improved.

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset
Dr Carol Dweck (Professor of Psychology, Stanford University) coined the terms ‘Fixed Mindset’ and ‘Growth Mindset’ to describe the underlying beliefs we all have about our own learning and intelligence.

  • A Growth Mindset understands that abilities and intelligence can be developed.
  • A Fixed Mindset believes that basic abilities and intelligence are fixed traits.

Dr. Dweck and her colleagues have tested thousands of students over the past 30 years, and observe that students’ attitudes to learning and failure affect learning outcomes more than other factors such as social/economic backgrounds or natural talents and abilities. While some students exhibit a Growth Mindset and rebound from failure, those with a Fixed Mindset can seem devastated by even small setbacks.

Their research highlights that students with a ‘Fixed Mindset’ can stop themselves from striving to improve for fear of failure, while students with a ‘Growth Mindset’ persevere in the face of challenge and the result is they will learn something new.

Having a ‘Growth Mindset’ doesn’t mean everyone is the same with the same potential, but it does mean that everyone can grow from where they currently are. With hard work our skills and abilities can improve.

We can exhibit ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘Fixed Mindset’ in different areas – often being prepared to persevere longer in areas that we perceive we are already capable in. If you can encourage your sporty students to spend as much time practicing maths as sports, then they will improve in maths – which is much more successful if you can change their mindset about math!

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