Te Uku School has been given $50,000 in government funding to research the outcomes of its new teaching practice.

Principal Rachel Allan says she is really pleased with the grant from the Ministry of Education’s Teacher-led Innovation Fund because the school will now be able to measure the success of using growth mindset to improve educational achievement.

“It just allows us to do some things that will have a cost, that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.”

Growth mindset is the belief that everyone’s most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, and that it’s not talent or natural aptitude that governs success.

Ms Allan says the school started using this philosophy of teaching a few months ago, when it was decided that a different approach was needed to try and lift the writing achievements of students who weren’t meeting national standards.

The research will focus on the use of growth mindset teaching methods in writing, using a target group of students.

“We are targeting the quality of writing, and instilling a desire to write.

“We are hoping that our investment of growth mindset and our developing understanding of it will result in successful teaching practices in writing.”

Ms Allan says all learning will benefit from the growth mindset teaching practice.

“Hopefully the kids will be able to sense that the teachers are working with them differently.”

The project, which will start in July, will be a mix of quantitative and qualitative data, including teacher interviews, surveys by children, feedback from parents and academic results.

The funding will enable the school to employ people to help conduct the research.

Ms Allan says Waikato University senior lecturer in education Kerry Earl will be interviewing the teachers and analysing the research.

“I’m feeling really confident,” says Ms Allan.

“This is about changing teaching practices that can be sustainable, that have a positive impact on achievement.”

Te Uku School’s project is one of 46 selected in the second round of the $18 million Teacher-led Innovation Fund, which supports the development of innovative teaching practices.

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