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Shirley Clarke & Growth Mindset

Shirley Clarke



At Ysgol Gronant, we have established Shirley Clarke formative assessment techniques, because they encapsulate what is most important in education: empowering children to become confident learners who know how to learn.




Talk Partners


Pupil talk is central to active learning. Establishing talk partners is often the first step teachers take in experimenting with formative assessment, as it is relatively straightforward to embark on and the impact can be seen immediately.

- Shirley Clarke 2008


Using Talk Partners ensures quality talk in the classroom. The use of talk partners means there is a constant handover to the children when questions are asked or tasks are underway. Children are immediately more motivated to work because they are in charge of their own learning.

Some children feel more confident when using talk partners because they don’t feel any pressure as they are part of a paired response and there is time to discuss. Children begin to give more detailed answers and gradually developing higher- quality talk.


Some positive outcomes of using the talk partners approach are that it:

  • Provides more opportunities for quality speaking and listening in the classroom;
  • Teachers have more time to listen to children, enabling teachers to gage the level of understanding and address any misconceptions on the spot, leading to more immediate feedback;
  • Greater pupil engagement and less passive listening;
  • Enables children think more clearly about what they are doing and children write more as a consequence;
  • Enables participation by children who might not be as confident in the whole class situation;
  • Ensures all children are involved in the lesson;
  • Provides more thinking time;
  • Encourages the involvement of boys;
  • Enables children to learn from each other;
  • Develops better Ethos in the classroom and respect for all;
  • Keeps learning fresh. Children get excited at the prospect at changing partners!


➡️ You can learn more about this approach here! ⬅️



Growth Mindset


"Growth Mindset is a theory centred around the belief that intelligence and learning can be developed and improved. If someone has a growth mindset, they have a positive attitude towards learning and their ability to progress and achieve. Children who possess a growth mindset are said to rise to challenges and learn from the mistakes they make, rather than feeling distressed and defeated if they are unable to do or understand something".


At Ysgol Gronant, we are promoting a positive Growth Mindset in our children so that they have the confidence to rise to challenges and feel confident to make mistakes in order to learn from them.