Attitudes for Success

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Confidence • Openness • Resilience • Excellence • Passion • Patience • Positivity • Perseverance

Attitudes for Success

Attitudes shape our behaviour.  Positive and productive attitudes lead to positive and productive behaviours.  Each of us has the capacity to improve.  Attitudes are not habits – but they form habits.  The VAST scaffold identifies eight key attitudes for success, which are illustrated as the leaves of a growing plant:


Confidence (or initiative) is a feeling of self-assurance, which strengthens our resolve to take on challenges.  If we develop confident learners, we equip each with the key to unlock doors and walk through: a compelling desire to take the initiative and give new things a go.  Mistakes are easier to accept when we feel confident.  Confidence allows us to bounce on and face setbacks because we see mistakes as vital stepping stones to success, often referred to as failing forward.  

Self confidence empowers learning growth. Self-confidence grows from the success we celebrate over the expectations placed upon us. If we have too much success with little challenging expectations, we inflate our self-belief.  If our expectations are too great and little success, we damage our self-belief.  Therefore, success equals self confidence multiplied by the expectations. 

Openness to new ideas is harnessing curiosity – and curiosity is a burning desire to learn, to seek out, to investigate, to be inquisitive, longing and loving to discover more. Openness drives curiosity, and vice versa.  Curiosity actually strengthens memory.  In a study undertaken by the University of California, it was found curiosity prepares the brain for learning, and makes subsequent learning more rewarding.  Consciously being open to new ideas, being open to accepting when we are wrong, and being open to change drive personal aspirations, which catalyse our learning.  Openness keeps your mind active.  Openness makes you observant; opens new possibilities; fosters excitement.

Resilience: resilience is really all about being flexible. Learners who are flexible handle stressful situations better, get over things and move on quickly, which establishes a growth mindset.

Excellence: excellence is an explicit understanding of the effort required to give of one’s best.  It is acceptance of high expectations in order to attain a personal best. Excellence is often an intrinsic desire to strive for success.


The 4Ps

Passion: passion is ambition materialised into action. It is more than enthusiasm and excitement. It requires commitment, energy and effort. As teachers, we are not coaches, focused on motivating learners. Rather, we should purposefully design experiences and opportunities to capture a learner’s interest.

Patience: patience is slow-learning, which is calming things to think more deeply. Reflection takes longer than impulse, so to properly process information means we need to give time for learning. Patience is also mindfulness: the ability to control deliberately oneself. Meditation and breathing are keys.

Positivity: we shape our world with our thoughts. Teaching positive thinking promotes a positive life. Educators should teach how to be content more than just content. To develop positivity, schools need to provide space for gratitude; need to offer opportunities for service as leadership.

Perseverance: Tenacity and determination have long been held as great human virtues. As Lee-Duckworth’s research highlights, Grit is it! Praising effort over attainment develops a growth mindset (Dweck). A growth mindset is an awareness intelligence is not locked. The theory of neural plasticity means we can all grow, challenging us all to solve problems by sticking with a task until its conclusion.