The learning pit is an idea that we have been talking about at school. The principle of it is that everyone is able to achieve, the secret to doing so is simple, hard work.

Every lesson that the children come to is an opportunity to learn something new. In order t stretch their brains, they are going to need to have to think hard about something. This is what happens when you ‘leap into the pit’. In the pit, you have to demonstrate attributes like hard work, perseverance, resilience and determination.

By doing this and getting through to the other side of the lesson, children should have developed a greater level of understanding. This is something that applies to ALL children; everyone is expected to experience this feeling of slight discomfort in not being certain what the answer is, regardless of their ability before the lesson.

We have been talking to the children about mindsets, and how they can prepare themselves for this before arriving at the lesson.

The image below helps to illustrate the process children need to go through to achieve deep learning.

The key to being a successful learner is about the way we think about our learning. There are two main types of mind-sets: a Fixed mind-set and a growth mind-set.

Fixed Mindset 

  • I like to know who to do my work straight away
  • I don’t like to try a challenge
  • I want people to praise me for how clever I am
  • I believe I cannot change how clever I am
  • I don’t like to try new things because I won’t be very good at it
  • I give up easily

Growth Mindset 

  • I never give up
  • I like my work to be difficult – it means I am learning
  • I love challenges and understand the feeling I get when I solve it
  • I want people to praise me for the effort I put into my work
  • I believe I can get more intelligent by working hard
  • I feel clever when I’m learning something new
  • I learn from my mistakes

One of the interesting pints here is the idea that it could be damaging to praise a child for being ‘clever’. This has been shown to build in the children, an idea that they can simply DO something.

By simply changing our focus, we can praise our children by placing the focus on the reason for them being able to do something e.g. “wow, I can see that you have been working really hard on this”. Hard work is the key to success and even our more able children need to see the value in doing this. If they do not, and they rely on their innate ability, they will crumble when they have to apply their understanding to more complex problems- just like the hare in the video above.