The Friday Mindset #108

Helping students get better at studenting

Happy Friday, and a happy new year! 2024. Wow. We’re living in the future, man.

One item of admin before we start: we loved delivering our VESPA training day on December 11th - it was a blast. Afterwards, we sent the day’s resources through to everyone via Wetransfer. But we’ve since had an email from one delegate wondering where they’d got to. Could there be more of you who haven’t received the materials? Are tricksy firewalls preventing the powerpoint reaching you?

If that describes your situation, email us immediately and we’ll set things straight!

OK, that done, let’s begin. New year, same old stuff - we’ve got a bunch of ideas we’re interested in sharing. Let’s dive in…

Something to try...

We’ve made this powerpoint about deliberate error correction to try and convince perfectionists of the need to make and correct errors.

It’s a simple presentation that talks you through a fabulous study from the University of Singapore, completed just recently and hot off the press. In it, students were split into three groups and all asked to prepare for an exam. The test required a long-answer, essay-form question discussing the causes of a volcano eruption.

Group one - who were asked to read the source text and copy it out, underlining or highlighting key terms, performed the worst.

Group two, who got to read the source text and make it into a mind-map, came in second.

The winners, group three, made deliberate conceptual errors during note-taking, and immediately corrected those errors.

The powerpoint takes you through the outcomes, and the researchers’ explanations for those results. It’s a good one. Enjoy!

Something we're reading...

In November and December, we visited lots of schools and colleges to run staff and student training. Often we were a small section of a larger day - if that’s the case we always like to ask what else is going on; what the other sessions are and how we fit in. It’s been interesting to hear how many leaders have said something like, “we’ve got a session on AI after yours.”

Here’s a useful contribution to the discussion. The rebuttal below is aimed squarely at ChatGPT users confused by why they might need to write anything.

“Writing is the process by which you realise that you do not understand what you are talking about,” isn’t the most graceful quote in the world - ‘talking’ seems an odd choice of word - but the content here is strong, and builds on a whole world of evidence about elaborative interrogation being a powerful learning tool.

Could be a good one to share with staff and students as, over the coming year, as we unify our thinking on the advantages and disadvantages of AI in education, and prepare clear messages for learners:

Our latest offer...

The VESPA Handbook is going through final line-edits this month, in preparation for release in March. So it’s time to gather up some of the bits and pieces that never made it in, and see if they’re worth sharing. Here’s a practice activity called RAG-rated Revisits that didn’t make the cut.

We still use it in our coaching conversations with students, though. It’s good stuff - but other activities in the book cover the same ground a little more neatly. So here it is. Maybe it’ll be useful!

And that’s all we’ve got this week folks. Get out of here and have a great weekend. Go to the gym, ride your bike, run in the rain… it’s the time of year we do grim stuff to atone for previous excess. Arrrgh.

All the best to you and yours,

Steve, Tony and Martin