I am KJ Walton. I am a primary school teacher, author and illustrator. I am also a daughter, a wife and a Mum. Life is busy. Life is challenging but my passion for the Growth Mindset has certainly supported me in growing and developing in all these areas of my life. Particularly in times of difficulty and struggle.
My initial interest in Professor Carol Dweck’s research about our ‘Mindsets’ and the profound effect that your Mindset can have on your motivation and subsequent learning of new things initially came from my role as a teacher. During the last seven years or so, I have explored in the classroom how to engage children in thinking about what Mindset they are in at given times and how this effects their behaviour and overall achievement. This exploration started through the telling of stories and developed into application to create a Growth Mindset culture in the classroom more generally on a day to day basis. This passion has now become about a wider audience – parenting and building the culture within the family environment.
There has been some wonderful moments and I have watched children blossom as they realise some interesting things about learning that they had never considered before. I’m now exploring this as a parent in relation to my daughter’s developing attitude to learning but also my own Mindset in relation to parenting.
As a result of becoming a ‘Mindsetter’ and exploring this research, I would say about myself that;
- I am learning to embrace struggle.
- I am becoming more patient (particularly since becoming a parent!)
- I view mistakes, setbacks and failures as something to learn from.
- I endeavour to fight the fear and do it anyway.
- I no longer see challenge as the thing that will highlight my inadequacies.
- I fight the urge to be a ‘perfectionist’.
- I no longer allow myself the luxury of saying ‘I can’t’.
- I try to see opportunity over burden.
- Rather than say to myself ‘ I have to…’ I try to say, ‘I get to…’
- I believe in myself more.
- I worry less about what others think of me.
- I see myself as a work in progress.
- I’m on a journey and that’s more important than the destination.
- I want to learn something new every day.
- I’m learning to make myself vulnerable and be comfortable out of my comfort zone.
- I don’t know what’s going to happen but if I don’t try, I’ll never know.
- I’m possible, it’s not impossible.
These aspects to my personality are certainly areas where I have grown over the last few years and the website that you now find yourself looking at is the culmination of these qualities. It is for the very fact that I have achieved things that I would have at one time said were impossible that I am here, telling this story. It’s not that these qualities didn’t exist at all previously but where I would once have given in because something was proving particularly challenging without questioning my behaviour, I am now able to take a step back and notice. It has enabled me to work through obstacles in a more thoughtful and directed way.
I will be forever grateful for the moment that ‘Mindset’ came into my life. My passion in this area of psychological research is partly down to the fact that, research aside – and there is a mountain of research that backs the ideas from which the Mindset theory emulates – it makes sense to me. To me, not only does it make complete sense but I know it can help individuals achieve more because I have experienced it’s effects. I just wonder if I had been introduced to these ideas earlier what else I might have tried. It’s very easy to assume that children just absorb these messages but what if they don’t or they do but don’t connect the ideas with their day-to-day behaviour?
Helping others achieve more through building an understanding of the Mindset ideas and how they connect to everyday life is what KJ Walton is all about.
My mission is to get Mindset ideas ‘out there’ by making the theoretical ideas more accessible to children, young people and adults. I wish to share my expertise in this area; an area that, with every passing year, becomes more ingrained within me because I believe the ideas have and continue to change my life and others around me in very positive ways. This certainly affects my mental health, well-being and happiness and I want this for my daughter. It can do that for you and the children in your life too.
My aim is to support our ability to ‘bring Mindset to life’ and infiltrate the ideas and understanding into everyday life so that it is not something to bolt-on but so it becomes entwined within our busy lives both as parents and teachers. The research that shows us how much our Mindset matters in our success is now considerable and cannot go ignored.