The much heralded theory of Mindset seems almost ubiquitous in schools, with teachers latching on to the idea due to its apparent potential to improve outcomes for students. However, many people have started raising doubts about the effectiveness of the implementation of Mindset in schools. Even Dr Carol Dweck, the psychologist who put the theory on the map, admits that many schools and other institutions are getting it wrong.


Dweck laments the sadly common approach of delivering a lecture or two on fixed and growth Mindsets, putting up a few posters and then expecting the magic to happen. Similarly, she believes that many teachers have misunderstood Mindset to be simply about praising student effort.


So, is there a missing element, one that provides a gateway for tapping into the full potential that Dweck’s theory offers?


Cognitive Behavioural Coaching draws on the work of Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, who drew a link between negative self-talk or thinking, the emotions these evoke, and resulting problematic outcomes. Recognising that negative thinking is often habitual and not based in reality, Beck and Ellis believed that supporting patients to challenge and replace cognitive distortions was key to improving mental health.


If we recognise that a major barrier to students adopting a Growth Mindset, is often a negative self-image, could Cognitive Behavioural approaches be the key to unlock the benefits that a Growth Mindset has been shown to bestow?


Moreover, can we take what we know about the effectiveness of Deliberate Practice for embedding learning, and transfer this to the teaching of cognitive behavioural strategies to students?


I believe that, properly implemented, Cognitive Behavioural Coaching has the potential to tackle procrastination, exam anxiety, workload management and other challenges young people typically face in school.


I will be exploring Cognitive Behavioural Coaching in more detail and sharing practical resources and strategies for implementing it in the classroom in a Dragonfly Training course on Monday 1st March, 0900-1200 GMT. There are still places left, so please do sign up by following this link. I’d love to see you there.

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