Posted: 29 August 2018

Make a Positive Start to the School Year

Summer always goes super quick and once again it’s back to school! Here are some ideas for making this year your most positive yet:

Encourage your pupils to develop a growth mindsetWhy not set your pupils some homework to start them thinking about what a growth mindset is? You could ask them to research someone that they look up to. When did they face obstacles in their journey to success? How did they overcome these? Your pupils can then present their findings to the class.

We've also created a few posters to help your students understand how to develop their own growth mindset.

Think about the praise you offerIt’s so easy to focus solely on results, but by praising effort over ability and success, you will help your pupils to develop a growth mindset.

Teach your pupils to fail betterNo-one likes failure. But, as we know, learning and growing up often involves failure and it’s a real skill to be able to turn that into a positive. But by teaching your pupils to see failure as the opportunity to improve, by asking for constructive feedback and reflecting on it, you’ll be helping them to fail better.

The power of ‘yet’A tiny, three-lettered word can be one of the most powerful in the English language when it comes to helping pupils develop a growth mindset. Teach them not to say ‘I can’t do this’, but rather, ‘I can’t do this…yet’ and watch how it allows them to exceed their own expectations of themselves.

Encourage your pupils to try new thingsWe’re all born with a natural curiosity that sadly seems to seep away from some of us as we grow into adults. Feed your pupils natural curiosity by encouraging them to try new things – you knew we were going to say this, but school trips are ideal for this!

And don’t forget you!Could you learn how to fail better? Do you know the power of yet? Do you say ‘yes’ to new experiences?

Make a positive inventoryStarting with yourself, why not take some time to make a positive inventory? List all your strengths, skills and best traits, before making a list of all the goals you have so far achieved.

Then ask your students to do the same!

Make a list of achievable goals for the year aheadThis is a great starter activity at the beginning of term. Write down a list of achievable goals for the year ahead – you could even rank them in terms of how achievable you think they are. You may also want to introduce small rewards as pupils tick off their goals. And don’t forget to do one yourself!

Make your classroom a welcoming oneGreet individual pupils as they enter the classroom. Ask them how their weekend or evening was – by showing an interest in them as people, the atmosphere will automatically become more positive, opening the students up to learning. You could also make notes when pupils do positive things in class, such as showing kindness to one of their classmates. And remember to praise them at the end of the lesson – or even call home to let their parents or guardians know what a star they’ve been!

Create a set of classroom rules with your pupilsBy working together on these, not only will your pupils take ownership of the classroom rules, they’ll understand why they’re there and will be more willing to follow them.

Create a ‘subject in the news’ boardA ‘subject in the news’ board can really help students understand the value of your subject in everyday life. It also offers some great opportunities for discussion and related starter activities too. Plus, you could even sow the seeds for some of your cohort’s future careers!

Spring clean your classroomOr maybe, autumn clean? Anyway, making sure everything is organised and your displays are bright and colourful will put you in the right frame of mind for teaching, as well as encourage learning.

We've created a number of posters you can download for free to help you with this, including our growth mindset posters and our colourful motivational posters.

Show your pupils what they've got to look forward toIf you’re planning a school trip, or any other activity, why not leave a board free to focus on that, perhaps with pictures of past groups enjoying themselves? It will give this year’s pupils something to work towards and look forward to.

These are just a few ideas to help you start the new year on the right foot. Have you got any ideas you’d like to share? Join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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