“I’ve been delighted to see in recent years that so much strong research in the fields of motivation, achievement and success is finding its way into the popular consciousness – sometimes through the work of brilliant journalists like Matt Syed, Malcolm Gladwell, Paul Tough, David Shenk, Daniel Pink, Daniel Coyle, and many others, and sometimes through the work of the academics themselves – Carol Dweck’s internationally bestselling book ‘Mindset’ is a case in point. During the recent Osiris mindset tour, Carol was telling me how the same text gets ‘spun’ by publishers who are sensitive to the dominant values and priorities of their culture: the Russian version of her book, for instance, has its front cover featuring individuals gleefully collecting currency from the air!
Whatever one’s personal motivation for integrating the messages of contemporary academic research around achievement into one’s own life, and in whichever culture one lives and works, one central theme stands out: we underestimate the effect of largely non-cognitive factors like grit, risk-taking and openness to criticism on children’s academic success and personal fulfilment at our peril! My wish to synthesise and apply this research in a way that contributes to progressive classroom practice in all key stages has been the spur to the creation of my latest course for Osiris – which looks at how children succeed and what we can do to nurture their success. In this course I introduce the gorgeously ugly but really useful portmanteau word edugumption as a way of conceptualising all those approaches to learning which acknowledge the role that largely non-cognitive factors play in underpinning ultimate achievement. Edugumption’s root is a word you probably last heard your grandmother use to describe an individual with good old northern nous – practical common sense mixed with a robust preparedness to take reasonable risks, seek out challenges, and deal with obstacles – all factors that are revealed in the detailed biographies of high-achievers in any field. I therefore aim to resurrect this word, and give it the status it deserves in our education system.
We have a substantial and growing evidence-base that edugumption approaches work – we can actually help children to create and strengthen their own growth mindsets. Your school might already be well along this path – especially if you and your students are familiar with such approaches as Art Costa’s Habits of Mind, Matt Lipman’s Philosophy for Children or Guy Claxton’s Building Learning Power. We won’t be looking at these particular approaches on the course, but we will be exploring a whole raft of practices – techniques, strategies and principles – that collectively can help to increase your students’ GQs – gumption-quotients! And by the way, you’ll be seeing how edugumption can meet your school’s post-OfSTED action plan en route – as a secondary gift. One last thing, if you’re looking for a school-aged poster-person for someone with genius-level GQ, google ‘Jack Andraka’ and marvel at where high GQ can take you. I’m hoping to meet you on this course to explore this further.”
Barry Hymer is Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Cumbria, and one of the UK’s most inspirational communicators. He served on the NACE Committee and gave evidence to the House of Commons Inquiry into the needs of able children. He has a background in teaching and educational psychology and foreground in learning – connecting research literature to what he sees in classrooms with outstanding teachers.
Barry’s new course is entitled How to Teach Success, combining Outstanding classroom practice and activities from latest educational research together in one essential course.
To find out more about Barry’s latest course, click here.