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Good to Go Blog

At St. John's, good knows no bounds. It's greater than great academics. Here are snapshots of what it means at the Prep. Something amazing happens when you're open to good!


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How should students define success? Learning.

A growth mindset is rooted in the belief that we can learn from our mistakes. There are important lessons to be gained when we fall short of expectations, our own or those of others. Everyone can grow by applying the insights we gain when things don’t go as planned.

Teacher practice has a big impact on pupils’ mindset, which is why at St. John’s Prep, teachers encourage students to view personal success in terms of the journey toward becoming their best selves. Why is this so important? Because the goal should be the process of learning in and of itself. Whether they get a question right or wrong, students who develop a growth mindset know they can acquire specific content knowledge by finding effective strategies, asking for help when needed, being persistent, and ultimately, altering the way they respond to adversity, and even failure.

Growth Mindset

“As educators, it’s important that we don’t shield students from challenges, but rather, provide a supportive environment in which they can confront adversity,” says St. John’s Principal and Associate Head of School Keith Crowley, Ph.D. “Self-advocacy and self-reliance are two important outcomes of the growth mindset and both are important for the success of the young men at St. John’s and beyond.”

Coming up with the right answer doesn’t make someone brilliant and getting a question wrong doesn’t mean they lack ability. When the No. 1 priority is learning, students don’t fall into what some educators describe as the “binary trap of success or failure.”

Research has shown that praising hard work and effort cultivates a growth mindset. A joint Stanford-Columbia study revealed that when students were praised for effort alone, 90 percent of them sought out the option of a new and challenging task they could learn from. This approach ignites a passion for learning rather than a desire for approval.

On their own two feet

Students at the Prep know that they have the support of their teachers and peers should they falter. This creates a safe space for learning.

To help foster a growth mindset, St. John’s engages students—from the youngest boys in grade 6 right up through our seniors on their way to college—with a wide range of activities that cultivate resilience and instill lifelong habits of health and wellness. The purpose is to teach students to see “wellness” as a characteristic that supports every dimension of their well-being: spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, physical and aesthetic. The Prep’s state-of-the-art Mahoney Wellness Center is the flagship of an enduring commitment that’s at the heart of a St. John’s education.

“When kids get involved in the activities that take place in this building, they reap the benefits of grappling with setbacks without being overwhelmed,” says Wellness Center Director Steve Brown. “They may need to work through questions, like: How do I work through this adversity with my friends, my coaches and the educators around me? But when they understand disappointment as one episode in the learning process, that opens a window to growth in navigating challenges for themselves.”
Posted by Mr. Chad Konecky in Inspired Academics on Wednesday November, 14, 2018 at 04:24PM

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