A Mindset for Success

In your classroom and school

By: Tony Swainston


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Products specifications
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Size: 222 x 182mm
Pages : 252
ISBN : 9781785831973
Format: Paperback
Published: April 2017

In A Mindset for Success: In Your Classroom and School, Tony Swainston analyses how the ways in which schools currently conceptualise and measure success could be limiting students’ potential to achieve it. It is critical for schools to move away from the many talent and IQ myths that presently exist and to stop categorising students in a way that damages their ability to grow and develop. Tony outlines key practical steps that can be taken in order to do just this, building instead a growth mindset culture in all classrooms and across schools.

A mindset for success can benefit everyone by giving more meaning to learning that, in turn, brings greater fulfilment for teachers and pupils. A Mindset for Success illustrates how grit, resilience, determination and perseverance can be nurtured in every child, enabling them to take on the challenges of life and our changing world, which will lead them to greater academic success and personal happiness. By exploring the importance of emotional intelligence and student well-being, it offers a holistic view of the academic and social development of students.

Educators will no doubt be aware of the theory of fixed and growth mindsets. That success can be a self-fulfilling prophecy and that attitudes to, and beliefs about, learning and intelligence profoundly influence academic outcomes is well-established. But how do you actually apply this in order to transform learning in classrooms and the organisational culture in schools? Drawing on ideas and research by Hattie, Dweck, Seligman, Goleman and Ericsson, amongst others, Tony outlines the latest thinking about mindsets and explores what schools can do to make a difference. Class teachers will find a plethora of techniques to get the best out of their learners, including strategies for coaching and deliberate practice, and affirmations to increase motivation and autonomy. For head teachers and senior leaders, there is advice about how to consistently involve all teachers, support staff and parents in order to have the greatest impact upon students’ mindsets.

A practical guide to changing mindsets in schools. Suitable for teachers and school leaders.

Contents include:

Part I: Why changing mindsets in our schools matters

1. The academic and social impact of mindsets

Part II: What mindsets are all about

2. What do we mean by mindsets?

3. Trying to get better

4. Support from other research

5. Using our heads

Part III: How to change the mindsets of a school community

6. It’s about a culture change

7. Changing the minds of individuals

8. Further elements that support success

9. The benefits of action research

Part IV: Practical activities that change mindsets

10. Great activities with pupils

11. Great adult activities – training with teachers, support staff and parents

Picture for author Tony Swainston

Tony Swainston

Tony Swainston is a UK born and based trainer and writer. Following on from a 20-year career in teaching, for the past 15 years he has delivered training, in both business and education, in over 15 countries around the world. Tony has a passion for developing individuals as leaders and coaches, working with people across a broad range of levels in organisations. He is a sought-after keynote speaker with clients that include Shell, the British Council and the Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia. He has, so far, taken over 20 UK schools through his 12-month Mindset of Success' programme.


  1. Swainton writes in an easy to follow style and he clearly believes that outstanding teachers ‘believe in their students’ and in their potential to develop a growth mindset, as he sees this of ‘immense importance’ in terms of academic and personal development. He talks about the importance of nourishing the brain with a diet of positive thoughts that support personal growth and the attainment of goals. 

    In Part 4 of the book there are a number of practical activities for both students and adults (teachers, parents, support staff). These are well set out and draw on his expertise and experience and are designed to be used in various settings such as lessons or assemblies.

    This is a well crafted book that offers a clear route to creating and maintaining a positive mindset approach to learning. 

  2. Tony Swainston from his extensive practical experience addresses a range of key issues,  faced by teachers and managers in schools and colleges, in particular, promoting the engagement and motivation of learners  to improve participation and outcomes. The author focusses  on a  wide range of strategies to effectively change mindsets  and make a positive difference to learner confidence  and personal drive  to raise aspirations  and extend their potential.

    Readers will find the section on mindsets , linked to the research work of Caroline Dweck and John Hattie very informative .  This background information gives the reader a baseline for raising awareness of the author's strategies for changing the mindsets of  a school community and individuals.  The author discusses a range of activities  with learners focussed on learning together, making connections, chunking and how to encourage individuals to persist in the face of obstacles.

    This is an excellent resource to promote mindset and the key skills of self belief, perseverance, determination, drive, habit, resilience, expectation  Above all  it addresses  strategies to impact upon  attitudes to extend personal  commitment , endeavour  and  enjoy celebrating  a  personal best performance.
  3. Tony Swainston has conducted numerous workshops for teachers and supervisors throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, all of which have been extremely well-received and have practical applications. A Mindset for Success addresses the practical needs of leaders and teachers across a range of educational settings. The motivational approaches to changing mindsets and engaging stakeholders in the educational process are refreshing, innovative and will contribute to improving student outcomes.

    Tony's positive and clear approach makes his theories transferable to the classroom. The book provides guidance in the collective teaching and learning engagement approach we are striving to move towards in the Kingdom; encouraging all stakeholders to recognise, realise and action their responsibilities in preparing our children for the future that lies ahead of them.
  4. A great insight into the ways in which we can improve outcomes for students. Tony is able to share his passion and belief that through hard work, determination and deliberate practice we can all accomplish much more. Having worked alongside Tony to unpick this principle of growth mindsets, we have seen students and adults change their views and opinions. It is my belief that, if we get this fundamental principle correct in the classroom, many more of our students will achieve much more and levels of aspiration will significantly increase.
  5. In schools we are always self-evaluating and looking to improve practice, something which is often driven by data trends and can often lead to much of our improvement work being subject specific. Therefore, as a school leader it is refreshing and energising to focus on how we can improve our practice overall. Tony's book is a reminder not only of why we work in schools but also the impact we can have on children's lives.

    A Mindset for Success takes you from theory to practice in a very pragmatic way. From his initial exploration of the work of the theorists, right through to the practical application in the classroom, Tony's narrative is clear, accessible and engaging. Tony deeply believes that mindsets matter: his passion for developing mindsets for success makes a positive difference not only to the children we teach but also to ourselves as teachers, the people responsible for preparing children for the challenges of their lives ahead. This is evident throughout the book and in our experience working with Tony at our school in Ripon.
  6. How do we create a school culture in which students feel confident and achieve success? Founded on years of teaching, observation, reading and coaching, Tony's excellent book lays out a clear and compelling case for developing growth mindsets in schools. Teachers and leaders should enjoy the clarity of exposition, the practical usefulness of the ideas and Tony's sheer passion for the subject.

    Tony demonstrates how coaching and deliberate practice can change a school culture, providing practical ideas for communicating a growth mindset to teachers and pupils. Drawing on the work of scholars such as Hattie, Dweck, Seligman and Ericsson, Tony explains how the brain works and how we can develop motivation, resilience, grit, perseverance and well-being in students.

    Leaders will welcome the analysis of how best to effect change in schools, in particular the value of the drip-feed approach to change management, including not only teachers, but parents, support staff and governors. Teachers will value Tony's specific ideas for carrying out action research in this field.

    There is no doubt that the beliefs and expectations of both students and teachers play a huge role in determining outcomes in schools. Tony develops a very persuasive argument for how changing mindsets can tap into the tremendous potential every person has.
  7. A must-read and must-do for school leaders who are serious about creating the very best organisational culture and environment for success. Tony takes you straight to the heart of the matter - schools have to be the ultimate role model for changing mindsets. This can only be achieved by leaders, teachers, students and parents, both as individuals and as a collective, being guided to view things through a different lens. With absolute clarity of thought and process, Tony prods and provokes our conscience at all levels and shows us how we can achieve this.

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