Why are some learners reluctant to take risks?

  • Entity view of intelligence, talent and ability.
  • Fear of getting things wrong, failing to look smart.
  • Past experiences of failure.
  • Perceived cost-benefit of failing.
  • ‘Hazard’ view of mistakes – something to be avoided.


What we are doing to help our pupils change the way they think about mistakes and failure?


  • Consistently challenge the entity theory of intelligence through our Animal attitudes.
  • Reframe how our pupils think about mistakes and failure. We talk about good mistakes and use examples of our mistakes to move our learning on.
  • Create new, positive experiences of mistakes and failure.
  • Challenge the costs pupils perceive and talk-up and demonstrate the benefits – we set our pupils challenges: e.g. ‘In this lesson I expect you to make at least 3 If you get half-way through and haven’t made any mistakes, you need to ask me to make the work more challenging for you.
  • Make mistakes a valuable, sought-after feature of your classroom – some classes use ‘mistake-logs to record misconceptions and what they have learnt from them.