The Growth Mindset Pocketbook by Barry Hymer and Mike Gershon

Roger Titcombe's picture
Part 5 of 'Learning Matters' is entitled, What is 'Good Education' and how is it different?

My last post was about the Mathematics Resilience group led by Sue Johnston-Wilder and Clare Lee, which is described and discussed in section 5.4 of my book.

I have tried to include, in my book, a representative sample of the work of current 'fellow travellers' who share a concern about the current drift towards rote learning and behaviourism in the marketised English education system. As well as 'Mathematics Resilience' the following get a section.

Cognitive Acceleration - Shayer and Adey
The importance of language and talking in classrooms - Mortimer and Scott
Learning Resilience and Building Learning Capacity - Claxton
Lessons from the 19th Century - The Rev Dawes

I am pleased to note that my book is already out of date as it makes no mention of the Growth Mindset movement. This is associated particularly with Carol S Dweck, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University.

The Growth Mindset Pocket Book shares the important common believe in the pedagogy of developmentalism rather than behaviourism.

This is the 5 star Review I left on Amazon.

'This is a brilliant little book that makes a significant contribution to the growing movement to put developmental learning back into mainstream practice in our classrooms. The key ideas of plastic intelligence, hard problems are more motivational than easy ones, meta-cognition, social learning and the importance of making mistakes are not new but have been increasingly displaced in our competitive, market-based school system by 'quick results' cramming and rote learning. This book is a must for teachers but also for everybody who cares about the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in our schools'

There has recently been a lot of discussion on LSN about how to translate the growing consensus of dissatisfaction and alarm at the disregard for evidence and ideological domination of educational discourse that dominates both sides of politics and the media, into a powerful movement for change.

I am trying to do my bit through my own book and in promoting the work of others that share the same basic beliefs in the need for evidence-based pedagogy.

So please buy and read the following (as well as 'Learning Matters').

'Growth Mindset Pocketbook', by Barry Hymer & Mike Gershon

'School Myths: And the Evidence that Blows them Apart', by Melissa Benn & Janet Downs

The only alternative is wringing our hands and sobbing into our beer (and wine).

Buy the books, spread the word and keep posting.
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Guest's picture
Sat, 07/02/2015 - 16:14

And there as I thinking this forum was about all children and parents having the benefit of good schools and a good education. Having read a few of the earlier threads over the last few months it seems to be more about the pre publication promotion of this authors book followed by post publication and now others getting involved. Surely pushing ones own self interest - and potential personal profit - makes key contributors on here no better than the politicians they profess to disagree with. This thread is a classic example of the practice and gives rise to the perception that rank hypocrisy is at play.

John Mountford's picture
Sat, 07/02/2015 - 22:47

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, in forming a truer picture of the direction and intent of this forum, Guest, it might have helped if you'd read more than "a few of the earlier threads over the last few months." Had you done so, I respectfully suggest you might have noted other evidence than a the pushing of "self interest".

Personally, counting myself as one of the "key contributors on here", I don't simply disagree with politicians over education, as you put it. I look forward with hope to the time when they (of ALL parties) experience an epiphany and realise that the mechanism for recycling education policy in sync with the electoral process has cost vast sums of money, seen the introduction of successive disastrous policy changes and set back the process of education reform in our nation for long enough. Achieving such a goal will not be easy, in the face of some pretty serious self-interest on the part of political parties, with the backing of a lazy media, intent on pushing their own pet ideas about education reform in the short-term. Now that's self-interest on a grand scale.

It is time we had a National Education Commission, as called for in the Ordinary Voices Campaign, ( to oversee national education policy, free from political interference.The LSN forum is one of the places where this is promoted. I am happy to be one of the "others getting involved", as you put it in the full knowledge of what it is we wish to achieve. We cannot afford not to fight on every front.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 10:17

Guest - there are 2,297 threads published on this forum. Only a teeny-weeny proportion of these mention books published by contributors.

However, there will be several in the next few days promoting 'School Myths: The Evidence That Blows Them Apart'. But this won't be for 'self-interest' - I'm one of the authors and will receive no royalties. But I want this short book to be widely read because it counters many of the accepted wisdom about education in England such as state schools needing DNA from private schools or introducing market forces into education raises standards.

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 10:47

Ms Janet, please do keep rebuttals in context. That is to say, the context of my comment was "Having read a few of the earlier threads over the last few months". This is hardly a comment based on the entire LSN archive.

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 10:58

My comment arose from the fact that having perused a few threads cover a handful of months what struck me was the number of references Roger T made to his book. Whether coincidental or not I also noted the most recent thread about a publication from other LSN contributors. Perception is powerful and sometimes dangerous thing and it was my perception that aspects of LSN were underpinned by the self-interest of some at the expense of the stated goals and reputation of LSN as a forum.

I have no truck with party politics and the hubris of politicians in the arena of education (or health care) and am implacably minded that both need to be wrest away from their domination and enslavement as party political footballs.

I acknowledge the openness and candour of Roger T in his recognition that "[He] can see why [I] might think that"

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 11:43

Guest - but you used this small sample of earlier threads in the last few months to reach a generalised conclusion that this site wasn't really interested in education and children but in self-promotion. It was, therefore, guilty of 'rank hypocrisy'.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 11:51

Guest - as I said below, there are likely to be several more threads about our recently-published book in the next couple of weeks. This is because we want to promote it as widely as possible. But, as I also made clear, it is not for self-interest or self-promotion but to blast away some of the dominant myths surrounding education.

We hope publishing and promoting this book will enhance the reputation of LSN as a source of fully-evidenced research and comments.

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 13:13

Newcomers to the site are hardly likely to read every thread from start to finish. The latter is an unreasonable expectation. The reality is that they may, as I did, delve back a few pages (handful of months) and form an opinion. As I said in a comment above, perception is a powerful thing and should not be ignored.

David Barry's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 17:55

Guest, indeed perception IS a powerful thing. And your mis perception has not been ignored. It has been corrected.

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 21:18

"reach a generalised conclusion that this site wasn’t really interested in education and children but in self-promotion. It was, therefore, guilty of ‘rank hypocrisy’." Interesting synopsis but not what I said. May I politely suggest you re-read what I actually posted.

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 21:28

David Barry, you state "[my] mis perception has not been ignored. It has been corrected." Do I detect a hint of polemicism or just plain protectionism? A persons perception is just that theirs and whether this is changed is surely up to the holder of that perception. It follows then that neither you nor anyone else can "correct" it. Rather, others can present evidence and/or arguments that are sufficiently persuasive such that the holder of the perception changes their position.

To this I would add that at not point have I asserted that my perception has been "ignored".

David Barry's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 21:54

I thought Guest, like almost everyone, of whatever opinion, who posts on this site was interested in a serious argument.

My mistake.

"please do not feed the troll"

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 22:06

Labelled as "troll", eh, gosh, that's a first. I see the wafer thin ploy though. If someone presents a firm and well founded counterpoint position David Barry resorts to throwing names at people. Please highlight where I have been rude or abusive or issued threats or any of the other attitudes associated with trolls. If you can't may I suggest that a retraction and even apology is in order.

Roger Titcombe's picture
Sat, 07/02/2015 - 20:10

I can see why you might think that Guest, but I doubt very much that any of the regular contributors to this site are motivated by a desire for personal enrichment.

Threads and comments on LSN have increasingly been about the disconnect between the overwhelming evidence of what 'good schools' and 'good education' should look like (backed by a high degree of academic and professional consensus) and the dominant paradigm driving government policy, (as Trevor would put it).

This dominant paradigm can be challenged in many ways and drawing attention to published work that marshals the evidence, makes the arguments and crucially demonstrates the width and depth of the consensus that underpins them, is bound to be part of the process of trying to ensure that parents and children can indeed get the benefits that you hope for.

David Barry's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 21:29

Well, Guest I have re read what you said, and it seems to me the synopsis accurate.

after all you wrote:

"rank hypocrisy is at play"

referring to this site.

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 21:58

Oh dear, I observed that, "Surely pushing ones own self interest – and potential personal profit – makes key contributors on here no better than the politicians they profess to disagree with. This thread is a classic example of the practice and gives rise to the perception that rank hypocrisy is at play." It is quite inaccurate then to re-interpret this and manipulate it assert a different position by deliberately reconstructing my comment. It is also abundantly clear that my comments related to those contributors pushing their publications - not the LSN site/forum per se.

Interestingly, neither did I observe what 'Janet' asserted, that is to say that I reached "a generalised conclusion that this site wasn’t really interested in education and children but in self-promotion."

Basic message here is not to distort or otherwise reconstruct my actual comments and replace them with your revised version.

Roger Titcombe's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 22:09

As the object of Guest's initial ire, can I gently suggest that we move on? Guest is right that I seek to promote the evidence based arguments in my book and those in the publications of 'fellow LSN travellers and sympathisers'. I can understand his suspicion of a commercially motivated conspiracy on the part of us ex-teachers to pad out our retirements in disgusting luxury on the proceeds of our rebellious tomes, however I have never met any of the authors whose work I have drawn attention to nor will I apologise for hoping for growing sales of their work. We are engaged in a battle of ideas and our pens (or our keyboards) are our most potent weapons. Guest too, is a regular, if sporadic contributor to LSN, and to my mind a welcome one, whether I agree with him/her or not. There is little point in preaching to the converted.

Guest's picture
Sun, 08/02/2015 - 22:37

Roger T, as I said earlier in response to John M, I acknowledge your openness and candour; to which I now add respect arising from your latest comments.

I would however have to disagree that you were "the object of [my] initial ire". My observations were candid but did not contain an intensity of anger and hence the deliberate use of the word 'potential'. Hence I agree that I articulated my perception that there was "potential rank hypocrisy at play" but I am sure you will recognise that there is substantial difference between baldly accusing others of rank hypocrisy and the potential for it. Sadly, some others have not grasp this.

Your references to suspicions of "a commercially motivated conspiracy ... to pad out our retirements" etc, appear to be either flippancy or edgy sarcasm but whatever the motivation I acknowledge your right to express your position in any way you choose and recognise they were not meant as being acutely serious.

You are right that I have no time for duplicitous and self-interested politicians and their party politics that over many decades have shamelessly used education as a football at the destructive expense of generations of pupils and the professionalism (and sometimes sadly sanity) of teaching colleagues.

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