Fixed Vs. Growth Mindset – The Round Roti

Just this week, I had a most interesting staff meeting.

Staff meeting… Interesting… not necessarily two things that are often in the same sentence!

But seriously, this week we had a twilight training session (meaning we were there for three hours) all about Mindset & Motivation, and Evidence-Based Teaching.

It was fascinating!

Led by Robin Launder, an ex-prison officer turned teacher, I spent an insightful three hours extending my knowledge about mindset.

Prison officer… teacher… the similarities are vast if you think logically.

  • You are both responsible for vast amounts of other people.
  • You have to deal with behaviour issues.
  • You both need to set limits and boundaries with regards to behaviour.
  • You can find your work/life balance heavily teetering on the work side.

Who knew? I am basically a Prison Officer but for smaller inmates!

No, that is taking things a little far… My little darlings are far from the outlaws who are incarcerated in Her Majesty’s ‘Hotels’!

But it is definitely correct to compare the behaviour aspect of our jobs! We do need to instil boundaries in our classrooms. We need to keep our children happy and focused. And most importantly, we

And most importantly, we need to give our pupils space and opportunity to grow.

How guilty are we, in life, not just school, of labelling people?

“Oh, you’re such a clever boy!”
“You’re the best !”
“You’re so good “

It isn’t wrong to praise anyone, but sometimes, especially in this day and age, I fear we use far too much of this praise for a good bit of work or job, rather than praise for effort.

In this way, we as parents and teachers can enforce a fixed mindset. A child who has been praised to the hilt for previous efforts is less likely to take risks in new learning, for fear of failure. They can do this but they can’t do that, so they don’t try it = Fixed Mindset.

Whereas those who have pootled along, getting things wrong, as well as right, are more likely to take the next step, the next risk, with the chance of success equal to failure = Growth Mindset.

Because FAIL is not a bad thing!

F – First
A – Attempt
I – In
L – Learning

This was something that Launder mentioned, and I liked this, because we already have a poster up of this acronym in our school, growth mindset is firmly in all our minds!

And just an addition here, we went to another Mindset training and these came up as an addition to FAIL!

SAIL – You’re getting there, you can do it!

S – Second
A – Attempt
I – In
L – Learning


NAIL – See, practice made it perfect! On to the next challenge!!

N – Next
A- Attempt
I- In
L – Learning

Now, I could go into depth about all the wonderful things Launder mentioned, but I would be here for ages! Instead, I will mention one thing he asked us to all think about.

“Think about something that you really never thought you would be able to do. Something that you can do now, but at the time, you felt was impossible.”

There are so many obvious things, like ride a bike, learn to drive, learn to swim… but when is Ritu ever that obvious!?

We were asked to volunteer our ‘thing’ and I was happy to comply.

“To make perfectly round chappatis!”


It was a big thing for me!

My mum never expected me to cook regularly. Of course, I helped out but I wasn’t like some girls I knew, who were in the kitchen from a young age, perfecting the art of making Masala Chai, and Saag, Pakoras and Sabzi, in preparation for the inevitable marriage, and pleasing of in-laws!

But, when I got married, I was thrust into a family where it was normal to have curry and chapattis (roti) every day. There was only so long that I could sit back and be the ‘new bride’. Even though my mother in law is wonderful, she wasn’t going to cook for me forever!

So, the practice began. At first, my mind was pretty fixed. I was never going to be able to do this. Maps of every continent on this planet would appear before me as I rolled the dough out, but none looked like the Earth itself! I was almost resigned to the fact that I would never be able to do it.

Nevertheless, I carried on. No one commented on my strange shaped chapattis. They may have looked odd, but they still tasted ok. And day after day, week after week, I would make the chapattis at dinner time.

It wasn’t until one weekend when my own parents were over, that I realised that I was actually a fully fledged “Chapatti Queen”, as Robin Launder christened me! Mum stood in the kitchen, talking to me, and unbeknownst to me, was watching me roll my magic out. After I had rolled out around ten chapattis, she said to me in wonder, “Ritu, your rotis are actually round, all of them, and you aren’t even concentrating!”

When I looked down at the one I was rolling out and the pile of cooked flatbreads, I realised that I really had learned how to make round chapattis! I mean, as I rolled they even went around, by themselves, aiding in the creating of a perfect circular shape!

And not only that, I was also an expert at using different doughs, filled and spiced, and even able to rescue dough that was a couple of days old and that had become a little watery, to still make round chapattis!

Well, Launder was actually quite surprised when I had said my little sentence.

“You won’t believe this,” he said, “you aren’t the first, but the second person to have ever said that to me in all this time I have been running these sessions! Usually it’s the old ‘ride a bike’ thing!”

And during the course of the course, my art of making circular chapattis was referred to several times! My colleagues laughed, and said that they need to see me make these infamous round rotis too!

So, me being me, tried to film myself. I know I am a teacher, very resourceful and all that, but even I couldn’t magic a third arm out of nowhere, and I didn’t want to ask a family member to film me, so I improvised with a saucepan handle, and got this video… It’s not great, but you can see the chapatti moving around, of its own accord!

Apologies for the not clear filming, but hey, I hope you get the gist!

And here is the chapatti fluffing up when being cooked, another achievement!


And you know what, I don’t get them right every time. But I always have a jolly good go! You may get Africa, or Russia even, once in a while, but they are pretty darn good, no matter what! And hey, practice makes perfect!


If you are interested in reading more about Robin Launder, and his teachings, please visit his website, Behaviour Buddy, by clicking here.

62 Comments (+add yours?)

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  2. Diana Frajman
    Apr 20, 2017 @ 20:01:58

    My personal cooking challenge was pie pastry. I was determined to perfect it and eventually did. Although my waistline has cursed me for it!
    When I married, it was to learn to make a traditional dumpling that my Polish mother in-law use to make that was, my husband joked, a prerequisite to marriage.
    Funny, he just asked this morning for me to make him one.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. josypheen
    Apr 20, 2017 @ 10:50:54

    I love this post Ritu!

    …and now I sort of want to eat chapattis. I know that isn’t the point but…

    Liked by 1 person


  4. colouredfreedom
    Jan 21, 2017 @ 21:07:13

    Haha loved this post! Me on the other hand, no matter how hard I try, the chapattis ate never round!

    Liked by 1 person


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  6. bridget whelan
    Jan 20, 2017 @ 08:54:37

    Great post and brilliant definition. We don’t see other people’s botched attempts, we see their final and best work. As Hemingway said: the first draft is always shit. But it has to be written or there would be no final, polished passage of work..

    Liked by 1 person


  7. Prajakta
    Jan 16, 2017 @ 07:02:49

    I could connect so well with this post – especially the rotis (or phulkas as we call them here)… I had almost given up on them. The dough, the rolling out, the roasting! Seemingly simple yet complicated… But necessity leads to surprising outcomes and well, round rotis anyone? 🙂 Thank you for sharing this encouraging post!

    Liked by 1 person


  8. Robert Kirkendall
    Jan 16, 2017 @ 01:03:13

    Very good points about fixed vs. growth mindsets. People can end up in a comfort zone and become averse to risk, which stifles growth. And congratulations on the successful chapattis. I hope to achieve something similar with a dish I’ve been working on for years, gravy. Mine tends to be under-seasoned, or over-seasoned, and always too runny, but someday I’ll get it right!

    Liked by 1 person


  9. manyofus1980
    Jan 15, 2017 @ 16:30:50

    It sounds like a wonderful learning experience! I love that sort of thing, this post resonated with me ritu! ❤ xoxox

    Liked by 1 person


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  11. incahootswithmuddyboots
    Jan 15, 2017 @ 01:55:30


    Liked by 1 person


  12. willowdot21
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 20:46:53

    This all makes perfect sense, I used to work at a Dr Barnardo’s school and they had a similar ethic. I really agree all this praise, praise praise and nobody loses is not good to my mind. You need winners and losers to stop those that can getting slack and those who need to try harder to keep trying….. As an aside I learned to make Chipattis when I worked there …. don’t worry I will not be challenging you for for your Chipatti Queen title anytime soon!:)

    Liked by 1 person


  13. niasunset
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 20:43:26

    Dear Ritu, we have this chapatti, but I never made, usually I eat in a restaurant, but you inspired me, and I want to try! Thank you dear, have a nice day, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person


  14. Jools
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 15:45:13

    What a great post! And strange, as just last week, I was writing about fixed vs growth mindset for a client in HR/development. I didn’t even know what it was until last week!

    Liked by 1 person


    • Ritu
      Jan 14, 2017 @ 17:27:13

      We did a course a year ago too which opened my mind to it initially. This is why I was so excited about this one as it fascinates me! Glad you liked it Jools!!! 😊

      Liked by 1 person


  15. Judy E Martin
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 15:12:18

    Well done to you.I like the fact that you didn’t give up, and now look how great those look!! It really pays to persevere 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  16. Rae Longest
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 14:18:18

    Fascinating post! Are these the same as tortillas?

    Liked by 1 person


  17. Erika Kind
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 12:52:58

    This is such an encouraging post, sis! Everything is difficult until we are able to do it. I mean just me thinking back the past 6 months when I started work again. What a stone I had in my stomach at times because I was so nervous about so many new things. But it is not about the new things, it is about us just stepping forward in awareness that new things need to be learned first and getting rid of the pressure of being perfect in them right away.
    1. Have a will to learn it
    2. Practice and dare to make mistakes
    3. Learn from the mistakes
    4. Thank everyone around for their patience…. 😅 lol!!!
    Something I always learned in my life: The more new things you learn the less you are afraid or discouraged when more new things are on their way to be learned!

    Liked by 1 person


  18. wendyunsworth
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 12:29:24

    Lovely story, Ritu. Lets have more videos I would love a few lessons in cooking from you!

    Liked by 1 person


  19. robbiesinspiration
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 11:26:13

    A really lovely and meaningful post, Ritu. I love your definition of FAIL.

    Liked by 1 person


  20. kritsayvonne
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 11:11:32

    Fab post and video. An interesting insight, please do another to show how you cook them, the open flame looks scary. X

    Liked by 1 person


  21. The Story Reading Ape
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 10:16:13

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:

    A great post from Ritu:

    FAIL is not a bad thing!

    F – First
    A – Attempt
    I – In
    L – Learning

    PS: She makes great chapattis too 😀

    Liked by 1 person


  22. susieshy45
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 04:42:52

    That was an amazing post- one of your best ! I loved the video- it came out well- no worries there. And the chapatis- truly professional. Great work !
    It was a great instance to share with your crowd, because these days very few women make bread by hand.

    Liked by 2 people


  23. Lisa A.
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 02:25:52

    I really like what FAIL stands for. 🙂 The roti looks good! 😊

    Liked by 2 people


  24. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 02:12:44

    Great read, Ritu. But an “interesting” THREE HOUR meeting? Did the woman pass out chocolate? 🙂
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 2 people


  25. Shivangi
    Jan 14, 2017 @ 02:01:05

    Whoa… nice round roti👍😀😀😀. Even I didn’t know much about making rotis… but now I have become quite good. Great post Ritu!

    Liked by 1 person


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