GROWTH MINDSET : THE LANGUAGE WE USE

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GROWTH MINDSET : THE LANGUAGE WE USE

Richard Wise

Last month we wrote a post on Growth Mindset – what it actually means and the science behind it. Often, educators know the theory behind the mindset, but struggle to find ways of implementing it in a meaningful, long term way. Many schools host assemblies and whole PSHE classes on the topic, which is a great start, however the best results come from those who continue to reinforce the ethos every day. For some teachers and student support workers, knowing where to begin can be a bit daunting, but it’s actually much easier to slot into lessons than many realise.

A large part of helping young people to develop a positive growth mindset rests on the language which people around them use, and that which they use in themselves. As far back as 20 years ago, studies revealed that a subtle change in how students were praised could lead to a dramatic shift in their behaviour. One example showed that children who were praised for their effort enjoyed tasks much more than children who were praised for their intelligence. They were also found to perform much better in future tasks compared to their peers. By using positive language to enhance the idea that learning is not always straightforward, this encourages students to choose more difficult tasks to stretch themselves.

ASSESSING ATTAINMENT USING GROWTH MINDSET

How educators present assessment tasks such as tests and projects can have a massive impact on a learners approach to these. Over 40 years ago, one psychologist in America studied how primary school students viewed an upcoming test. Those who viewed it as an opportunity to compare themselves against their classmates tended to be more vulnerable to failure which could have a direct impact on their self-esteem. Other students approached the test in a more task orientated way and used it as a chance to see how much they had learned. Task orientation has since been associated with many positive learning impacts, such as better motivation, confidence and reduced anxiety.

By adapting the language we use when addressing students, this in turn has an impact on the language they use when addressing themselves. Self talk affects how people think, feel and ultimately perform and encouraging positive, open and growing thoughts will help young people manage their nerves, improve creativity and increase their persistence and motivation.

HOW CAN WE HELP

All of our instructors at WiseUp Team Building are specifically trained to use language which encourages the personal growth mindset of every student we work with. A study done on “Knowing your Limits” found that people are often not the best indicators of their best efforts and when challenged, may surpass their own expectations. Our instructors work hard to help learners realise their personal and combined team potential, and to use metacognitive questions such as “what could I do differently” to continue to improve. Not only do we ensure that our activity days are enjoyable and challenging, they are also jam packed full of useful techniques and tools which young people can take away with them and apply both in and outside the classroom to further their life learning.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can provide challenging team building days to improve student’s growth mindset at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

GROWTH MINDSET : WHAT’S ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?

Richard Wise

As one of the main educational buzzwords of the last few years, those working in schools and colleges have heard and used the term “Growth Mindset” a fair amount. But what does this actually mean and how can it be applied both in and outside the classroom to enhance learning?

Psychologist Carol Dweck coined the phrase over 30 years ago to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. The contrasting “Fixed Mindset” assumes that intelligence and creative ability are natural givens that people are either born with or without. Research has found that students with this thought process see new events as a test and equate making mistakes with having low levels of ability, which can in turn lead to them deliberately choosing easier tasks for fear of looking bad.

HOW CAN THIS CHANGE?

Recently, there has been a positive move towards correcting these misconceptions after extensive studies proved that learners tend to achieve more when they worry less about looking smart and put more energy into learning. Key to cultivating this attitude is the idea that intelligence can develop, and that effort leads to success. When encountering something they are not able to do yet, students with a growth mindset learn more. This is because they see the struggle as a natural part of getting better at something. They are also able to recognise when they need help and are not afraid to ask for it from their teachers.

IS THERE ANY HARD EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS?

Backing up the psychological research is fascinating scientific evidence that people are actually able to increase growth of their brain neurons by the actions they take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practising, and following good nutrition and sleep habits. Brain plasticity studies have revealed if students believe their brains can grow, they behave differently, leading to increased academic achievement which in turn can help narrow achievement gaps.

HOW CAN WISEUP TEAM BUILDING HELP SCHOOLS ENCOURAGE GROWTH MINDSET?

Outdoor education is a fantastic way of fostering a healthy growth mindset in students by providing a variety of challenges that are specifically designed to encourage appropriate risk taking. Young people are able to gain important and useful lessons even if a task does not meet it’s original goals as the learning outcomes are much more flexible. WiseUp Team Building strongly supports this ethos with a range of activities which inspire learners to capitalise on their setbacks in order to move forward effectively.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can provide team building days to boost student’s growth mindset at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 easy Microadventures to try this summer

Richard Wise

The term “microadventure” was made common by British adventurer Alistair Humphreys to describe a trip or experience that is short, cheap, easy and exciting. By removing the barriers that so often prevent people from exploring, such as financial cost, long lengths of time and lack of experience, microadventures encourage even the most hesitant of people to try their hand at something a little different to their everyday experiences. We have listed 5 simple microadventures to try this summer and hope that once people give them a try, they will feel more confident to go out and have many more!

  1. Build your own shelter and sleep in it

This can be done either inside or outside. If you live in a flat or have no outside space, use sofa cushions, dining table chairs, bed sheets and blankets to create a comfortable indoor shelter. Try adding fairy lights to make it a bit more cosy!

If you have a garden, or access to some outside space where you feel safe, you can use a small tarp or foliage that has fallen from trees or bushes to make your temporary shelter – make sure it’s secure and won’t fall down!

   

 

  1. Ride a bus or train to the end of the line

Have you ever wondered where the bus or train you use to get to school or work everyday actually goes to? Try staying on until the end of the line on a day off and explore the area around there. If you have been there before, pick somewhere different on the route map to explore – always pass a park that looks great to chill out in? Or a shop you have always wanted to go inside? Or maybe it’s just somewhere with a really funny name (we have a few of those near our Base here in Kent! Anyone fancy a visit to Sandwich?!) Hop off and check them out!

  
  1. Volunteer somewhere new

Try volunteering for a day at a dog and cat shelter or local wildlife park if you like animals. If people are more your thing, many events need volunteers to help out – Things like fun runs and other sporting activities are always a great way of spending a day meeting people and doing something different. You might be asked to pass out water or throw paint powder at runners going past, or maybe show people where to go at a music festival. Some events even give volunteers free entrance to the rest of the event or future dates if you give them a bit of your time.

  
  1. Create your own scavenger hunt

Create a scavenger hunt of places to go and things to find in your local area and either go out and do it yourself, in a group or even make teams and compete against your friends. Ideas of items to tick off could be to take a photo of yourself in front of 5 yellow cars, or to be dressed in the same items of clothing as a mannequin in a shop. You could have to find 3 different coloured leaves or a street name containing the letters W and I – the possibilities are endless! Creating the hunt can be just as much fun as the actual adventure itself!

   
  1. Learn 5 words or phrases of a different language and find someone to say them to

Learning a new language is a skill that will always come in handy! You never know when you many need to say “Hello” to someone in Chinese or Zulu. Pick a language that you haven’t studied before and find out how to say simple things like “Thank you,” “My Name is….” and “That’s beautiful” Then go out and find someone to try them with! With people originating from so many different countries now settling in the UK, the opportunities to try out new languages are plentiful. Often, there are programs to bring together speakers of different languages so look what’s available in your area. Also, consider learning a bit of sign language!

   

Keep on adventuring!

WiseUp have a whole host of exciting activities for young people to try without needed to travel long distances to an expensive outdoor centre. Our events can be run at any site available, from school fields, halls and classrooms to local parks and scout centres. Please fill in one of our easy enquiry forms for more information on sessions we offer, including our hands on Bushcraft Challenge and Orienteering exploration.

 

EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS

Richard Wise

With many students getting ready to sit their final Exams, thoughts of full time employment will already be on many of their minds. However, academic excellence won’t necessarily guarantee anyone their dream career, especially in today’s highly competitive job market. More and more, companies are placing a higher value on candidates employability skills, with many admitting they are more desirable than top grades.

WHAT ARE EMPLOYABILITY SKILLS ?

Often referred to as “soft skills,” these are the traits that employers most want to see in job applicants. In a report commissioned by the Edge Foundation entitled “Employers Perceptions of the employability skills of new graduates” team work and problem solving were the top desirable traits listed. Others, such as leadership, flexibility, communication and good interpersonal skills are all essential in order to succeed in the 21st century work force. As an ever growing number of companies re-format their current employees into new team-focused dynamics rather than the traditional hierarchal structure, school and university graduates hoping to join their ranks really need to be able to show their strengths as a team player.

HOW CAN WISEUP HELP?

As our company name implies, team building is what we do! Our highly engaging activity days have a strong focus on improving students’ interactions with one another as they complete a range of physically and mentally challenging tasks. Only by working together as a cohesive unit will teams be able to complete our activities, communicating ideas and supporting one another throughout the event. Each one of our team building activity days can be tailored to focus on a particular skill and link to the work environment outside of school.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can build your students soft skills base at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

 

 

 

Targeting Archery in OUTDOOR EDUCATION

Richard Wise

Archery is a standard feature of almost every adventure education experience, with many students often claiming it was their favourite part of a day or residential. But why in particular has this age old sport become such a staple in the outdoor pursuits industry?

Archery through the ages

Having been documented as being used by the ancient Egyptians at least 5,000 years ago, archery has featured prominently in historical weaponry around the world. From China and Japan, across the Middle East to Turkey and Greece, the bow and arrow had a formidable reputation. The English longbow, which became a force in the Middle Ages, was particularly ruthless. It was said that during the Battle of Crecy in 1346, 6,000 English archers launched 42,000 arrows per minute.

A weapon of sport

The invention of firearms saw archery become obsolete from a military perspective, however around the 18th century it enjoyed a fashionable revival as an aristocratic past time. In 1844, the Grand National Archery Society held a meeting to turn archery into a modern sport. The following decade saw many of the rules introduced that we still use today. Included in the Olympics sporadically from 1900-1972, it is now a permanent fixture in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What are the benefits?

Archery has a string of physical health benefits such as improving upper body strength, balance and co-ordination. It also improves metal focus and teaches key life skills such as personal safety, resilience and patience as participants practice and refine their aim. Games introduce an important element of fun, with team challenged bringing together individual shooters into a cohesive unit. What’s also fantastic is that archery is a sport that is easily accessible to all, including those with mental and physical disabilities. There are a whole host of tactile devices that have been designed to ensure everyone can take part.

GET IN TOUCH

If you would like to hear how our team can provide affordable Archery days at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

 

5 ways Adults can benefit from Team Building Activity Days

Richard Wise

Whether the task involves cooking, sports or puzzle-solving, the idea behind team building activity days is to increase the sense of togetherness of those involved. The individual and the team benefits from these activities in the following ways:

  1. Improves communication

In medium to large size companies it is likely that most communication is done by email, telephone or other non-face-to-face means. There may even be individuals in the office that some have never spoken to, even after many years of service. Team building exercises break down the walls of work departments so that everyone mixes together; marketing, accounting, human resources, sales all become one. People who are not used to working together get to participate and work as a team, interacting with each other, establishing a rapport and building strong relationships.

  1. Encourages creativity

Getting away from a desk and daily responsibilities can boost creativity, as your mind is no longer occupied on those tasks that are yet to be completed. Being in a new environment lends itself to thinking in new ways. A job may restrict someone from going beyond its roles and responsibilities; for example working in accounting tends to keep creativity to a minimum.

Team building activity days actively encourage creativity. Being given tasks that are different to those at work forces the brain to think diversely, and look at things from an alternative angle. These new ways of learning can then be transferred to the work environment leading to greater productivity.

  1. Improves motivation and morale

Repetitive tasks can hamper anyones motivation to get through them, and constantly doing the same thing day in day out can quickly make the work environment stale. Stepping away from this and coming together as a team to complete an activity can give you and others a much needed boost in morale. Team building activities can often identify barriers to positive morale, and when employees succeed in these activities, they become more confident, which boosts their motivation.

  1. Time to develop skills

When under a heavy workload there is little time to develop skills or learn new ones. Team building activities offer the opportunity to showcase abilities that may not come to the fore in a typical role at work, and allows people to focus on what they are best at. These activities are also a great way to learn new skills and discover things people didn’t know about their colleagues; you may find out that Christine from human resources is a brilliant designer, or Phillip from IT is a natural leader. These newly found skills can change company dynamics and improve productivity.

  1. Improves relationships

In a busy office environment there is often little time to build relationships with colleagues. The fun nature of team building activities allows employees to get know each other in a casual environment, whether inside or outside of the office. People may find that they have a common interest with someone from another team; this consequently makes them more likeable and trustworthy, and leads to easier future communications. Developing better relationships with colleagues also means that employees are more likely to look forward to coming into the office.

These are just a few of the many benefits of team building activity days. The key to these days is to make the most of them and get involved from start to finish.

 

5 free activities to keep young people active in winter

Richard Wise

It is often thought that team building activities are best saved for the summer, however there are plenty of exciting games and challenges that are great for keeping young people active all winter long. With the cold weather still hanging around, we at WiseUp have outlined a few of our favourite indoor games to help encourage everyone to enjoy the next few weeks using little or no equipment.

Giants, Wizards & Dwarfs

This game offers an active twist of the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors and is ideally suited to being played in a hall or larger indoor space. First, the group is split into two teams with a minimum of 5 per team and then each team decides on the character (Giant, Wizard or Dwarf) and corresponding action for their team for that round. When the teams have decided their character, they meet in the middle to perform their chosen action at the command of the game master. (Giants stomp on Wizards, Wizards cast spells on Dwarfs and Dwarfs tickle Giants). The losing team then has to run back to their safe zone without being tagged by the other team!

Categories

This simple game is a great ice-breaker for young people to get to know each other, It doesn’t require much space and encourages good communication.

The concept is simple. The game master calls out categories that the group then has to order themselves in. These categories could be anything from height, to length of names. For older groups, add a time limit to increase the difficulty!

Luck of the Dice

All that is needed for this game of chance is a large space and a dice of some variety – a large foam one works best for dramatic effect! Different areas of the space are assigned a number from the dice, and the dice is then thrown up in the air. Players have only the time that the dice is airborne to decide on a number and run to that area. If they do not make it before the dice lands, or they have chosen the space that matches the number showing face up on the dice, then they are out. The process is repeated, whittling away players each time The winner is the last person standing!

Animals by Number

An absolute classic! Players all mingle around the play area (feel free to get them dancing or use music to hype them up!) then the leader calls out an animal and a number – the number refers to how many players need to be involved to make the shape of the animal called out using only their bodies. The leader can choose to judge the shapes created and award prizes for the best ones.

Crab Football

A fun twist on the popular sport, crab football is a hilarious team activity that is bound to leave the entire group in stitches (the good kind!). Separate the group into two teams and instruct them to only move sideways, face up and on their hands and feet. Normal football rules also apply. This will require effective teamwork and will constitute a fairly thorough workout, however more often than not this game results in a bit of chaos and a lot of laughter!

Indoor activities all winter long

WiseUp offer fantastic team building activities including First Aid, Time Attack and The Hub Challenge to name just a few that can be carried out indoors with a range of different group sizes and ages. For more information on our fun activity days, visit our website.

 

How Important are Group Dynamics?

Richard Wise

When planning a WiseUp Team Building event, one of the most common questions we are asked by teachers is “How should we group the students?” As the combination of learners can greatly affect the outcome of the day, it’s a great question to be asked and one we are always happy to advise on.

What is the focus of the Event?

The first consideration to think of is the aim of the day. For example, if communication in a particular focal point, then it would be worth thinking about who the quieter students are and who best to place them with to encourage them to speak out and share ideas. If resilience is what the students need to focus on most, then combining students who have a tendency to give up with those more driven (sometimes, but not always this means mixing low attainers with those who do better academically) can have a positive effect, especially as traditionally these students would be in separate classes.

What about SEN students?

The placement of SEN students is also something which needs to be thought about carefully. The abilities of the students, and any additional support available to them, such as Teaching Assistants, adaptive equipment etc, will all influence the performance of their team. Our instructors work closely with school staff to ensure that all SEN students are fully involved to the best of their ability.

When more than one year group is participating, should the students be grouped with their classmates?

A team structure that is becoming increasingly popular (especially in schools which use the House system) is that of vertical grouping. Similar to vertical tutoring, the concept is based on combining students from across all year groups in one team. This has many benefits, such as encouraging older learners to take more of a leadership role while supporting younger ones, and is a great way for students to positively and constructively engage with each other.

Is it best for school staff or WiseUp to sort the groups?

With group dynamics playing a crucial role in the success of any team building event, teachers are perfectly placed to structure students so that they are poised and ready to begin the day with others who bring out the best in them. Having students working with people who are not part of their everyday friendship groups can often bring out skills and talents which are usually not seen.

 

The Financial Cost Of Outdoor Education

Richard Wise

School residentials are always a memorable part of every student’s education. For some, it will be the first time they have been away from home for more than one night at a time, whilst for others it’s about trying exciting new activities. For all students who attend, the opportunities to learn and build on key skills like communication and social interaction, problem solving and resilience are invaluable to their personal development.

Despite this, a recent study examining The state of school residentials in England: 2017 found that approximately only one in five children experience a residential every year. With increasing evidence to support the numerous benefits of incorporating outdoor learning within the national curriculum, this is a concerning statistic. Even more worryingly, the study revealed that only a third of teachers surveyed were confident that all of their students could afford to participate. Pupils living in more disadvantaged areas were found to be significantly less likely to be able to take part in traditional residentials, with affordability being repeatedly referenced.

What do teachers think?

At WiseUp, we strongly believe that young people’s opportunities to access outdoor learning should not be limited by how much money their families have. This is a view shared by many within the education sector, with delegates at the annual NAHT school leaders union conference voting “in favour of campaigning for protected funding to enable all children to have access to high quality outdoor education” according to Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary.

Whilst that is encouraging to hear, Mr Whiteman also acknowledged that “The education funding crisis is only going to reduce opportunities to participate in residential activities…” with many schools more cash strapped than ever due to budget cuts.  

Year 4 young people fun activities

How do we make outdoor activities more affordable?

WiseUp Team Building offers the ideal solution to enable students in any area to access affordable, high quality outdoor education. As a nationwide outreach company, our teams travel all over the UK to deliver enjoyable and rewarding activity days on school sites, meaning the logistics and cost of removing students from school is eliminated. With a transparent pricing structure and no limit on participant numbers, we also offer half and split day options for all of our activities.

Get in touch

If you would like to hear how our team can provide affordable team building days at your school site, please use our easy enquiry form or give us a call.

5 Challenging Brain Teasers

Richard Wise

At WiseUp we are passionate about challenging mind and body, and setting people of all ages exciting problems to solve.

Here we bring 5 of our favourite brain teasers. See if you can work out the solutions without cheating!

House under snow, black & white filter

1. The Dark Cabin

You are alone in a cabin, it is completely dark, and you only have one match. In the cabin there is a fireplace, a candle and an old newspaper. Which do you light first?

Bus stop art drawing

2. Bus Stop

You are driving a bus to London. At the first stop two ladies get on. At the second stop, a man and two children get on, and one of the ladies gets off. At the third stop two more men get on the bus and another of the ladies gets off. The bus is red and it is raining outside. But what is the driver’s name?

True or false direction arrows

3. The Liar and the Truth Teller

You are walking along a long road, and you come across a section where the road splits into two. Two men stand in front of each of the paths. One always lies and the other always tells the truth. Along one road will lead to treasures beyond your wildest dreams, whilst the other will lead to nothing, but you are only allowed to ask each man one question to work out which is which.

What question do you ask?

Island and boat paper art

4. Fox, Chicken and a Sack of Grain

You have a fox, a chicken and a sack of grain that you need to get to the other side of a raging river. Unfortunately, your boat is only big enough for one of the three items at a time and if you leave the fox with the chicken or the chicken with the grain, they will be eaten.

How do you get everything to the other side of the river?

Light bulbs

5. Three Lights, Three Switches

You are in a room which has nothing in it but three switches on the wall, and a door. The door leads to another room which contains three light bulbs. You want to work out which light bulb corresponds to each switch but once you open the door, you can no longer touch the switches.

How do you work out which switch is connected to each lightbulb?

Solutions

1. The match of course!

2. YOU are driving the bus.

3. In order to find out the correct path, ask both men ‘if I ask the other man, what road will they tell me is the correct road?” The liar will tell you that the honest man would choose the bad path and the honest man would correctly tell you that the liar would also choose the bad path. Now all you need to do is go down the other path for everything your heart could desire!

4. Take the chicken over on the boat first. Then the fox but bring back the chicken. Then leave the chicken but take the grain and finally do one last trip to pick up the chicken again.

5. This is a tricky one! Turn on the first two light switches and leave them for a few minutes. Then turn off the middle switch. Go through the door and look at the lights. The light that is on will belong to the first switch and one of the lightbulbs will be off but warm meaning it belongs to the second switch. The light that is cold and off will belong to the third switch.