Mindset of Growth – Phi Tuition at the Festival of Education 2016

Mindset of Growth – Phi Tuition at the Festival of Education 2016

The Festival of Education took place once again this year at the magnificent grounds of the Duke of Wellington College for two days (23 and 24 June 2016) at the outskirts of Reading. A newly appointed Master, and admittedly much younger than his predecessor, Julian Thomas opened the Festival with a very warm welcome, highlighting the importance of offering to our students a vibrant, creative and interesting learning process, if we are to win their hearts and minds. As such, the Festival provided an excitingly eclectic range of speakers and activities for both the educators and the students alike. Highlight of speakers included Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM Chef Inspector from Ofsted, A.C Grayling, Master, New College of the Humanities and Gemaine Greer, writer, academic and journalist.

Our very own, the Founder and Director of Phi Tuition, Dr Stathis Stefanidis, talked about the careers and the life of science at CERN. Starting with a brief introduction to the fundamental ideas and problems of Particle Physics, he presented the way that the Large Hadron Collider operates and what led to the discovery of the Higgs boson. He went on to explain the wide range of expertise and skills required to run CERN: from particle physicists, to electrical and mechanical engineers, computing scientists, geologists and medical experts up to human resourcing and finances, Dr Stefanidis stressed out the uniqueness of CERN as the single place which is a Physics Lab, a University campus and an Employer. The audience, predominantly students, had the opportunity to ask questions ranging from the hours of operation of the Large Hadron Collider up to the different routes for working at CERN.

We attended many magnificent talks during the two days but a talk that we would like to mention is by the journalist, writer and broadcaster Matthew Syed, who talked about how to achieve high performance with black box thinking. Based on his latest book, he used two professions in order to demonstrate the psychological revolution of what makes a success.

On one hand, the health care industry, with a fixed mindset determined by the talent of the doctors in the operational theatres and relying on their authority and skills to take life-saving decisions and make everything work. It is a very hostile environment to judge and question their decisions and ultimately their mistakes. It is very awkward to discuss errors and fix them. They simply recognise that the human body is too complicated and they should accept that things can not go right all the time.

On the other hand, the aviation industry, with a growth mindset, defined this time not only by the talent of the pilots who will fly the aircrafts but also their ability to identify, record and fix any mistakes in a very efficient manner. They recognise that we live in an world which is too complicated to understand therefore they want to learn from their mistakes. They believe in their capacity for growth and failure is an opportunity to learn. From many fatal accidents in the beginning, the aviation industry managed in a very short period of time to become on of the safest ways of travel just because they identified and learnt from their errors.

At Phi Tuition, we work with students to mobilise them from the fixed mindset to the mindset of growth. Where the fixed mindset prejudges the limit of their abilities, the mindset of growth relies on a constant effort for improving, identifying the mistakes and taking cognitive responsibility of their learning, no matter how weak or strong the student is. The fixed mindset starts from the assumption that the talent is given in a fixed quantity and one is either good in a science or maths or not. This is where the path for success is blocked. On the opposite side, a student with the mindset of growth will thrive to learn from their weaknesses and errors, they will seek help and guidance how to improve and exceed their limits. At the end, both weak and strong students soon realise that learning is far beyond limits.

It was an inspiring two-days event which gave us the opportunity to meet and talk to educators and students, challenge our way of thinking, learn from the experience of others and taking this inspiration back to our classes. The Festival of Education will take place next year again, 22 and 23 June 2017. See you then.

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