Friday Mindset #109

Helping students get better at studenting

Happy Friday!

The long week has ended. Five days’ hard labour are complete.

Given that you’re busy people, and that we’re neither smart nor funny, let’s dispense with bad jokes and time-wasting introductions and get straight into this week’s stuff! We’ve got an idea for a vision activity, a great read for low systems teachers, a new app, and much more…

Let’s dive in.

Something to try...

High vision students often know themselves really well. Low vision students, on the other hand, often haven’t had the time, inclination or correct methodology to reflect on what their attitudes and values might be. They’re not sure what’s important to them - which makes setting meaningful goals really hard.

Here’s a potential way forward with low vision students - we’ve come across a really interesting character strengths survey, and dutifully taken it, thinking carefully about each of the questions. It takes about ten-fifteen minutes, and it delivers a free report, which orders a series of character components (curiosity, creativity, zest, leadership…) from strongest, down to those that might need development.

It was a really interesting process, and of course had us thinking immediately about the insights and increased self-awareness students might get by giving it a try.

With appropriate guidance, this could be an interesting starting point for a vision discussion, or an exploration of intrinsic motivation. Have a go yourself first… then share it around if you think it will be useful:

Something we're reading...

When we were first appointed as senior leaders at our respective schools/colleges, we found handling all the competing priorities really tough. To-do lists became vast, unwieldy and frightening. We ended up reading David Allen’s classic Getting Things Done at the same time as a third staff-member, and pretty soon the three of us were all GTD-ed up, sharing the same time management and task management system.

It helped enormously, and we’ve used an adjusted version of GTD ever since.

But if you don’t know Allen’s system, a two-hundred page book can be off-putting. If that’s you, we have a solution. We came across this great explainer, which covers the entire GTD system really pretty quickly. Feel overwhelmed? Keep dropping the ball? We know the feeling. This article might be for you…

Portal talk

The new year brings the opportunity to reflect on past mistakes and challenge ourselves to do better in future. One of our activity slides that I’ve been updating this week is called “Failing Forwards” which seemed appropriate to revisit at this time of year. (I have included a free link to the slides below)

Dan Coyle, author of theCulture Code’ and ‘The Little Book of Talent’, is featured in the activity. His idea that mistakes are information is a really powerful message for students. He uses the example of a professor of Psychology at Princeton University, Johannes Haushofer, who published a CV of his failures. It’s like any other CV, except that Haushofer lists everything he failed at: the programs he failed to get into, the awards and funding he failed to receive. He writes:

“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me,”

The idea that that only projecting success, and never recognising failure can have damaging effects, Coyle argues, while highlighting that when failure is shared something special happens. He states:

“Making failure visible sets off a chain reaction with two benefits: 1) you create emotional connection and motivation; 2) you provide knowledge that helps others avoid the same mistakes. Failure isn’t something to be hidden, but a valuable resource to be exploited, a tool that helps a group become smarter and more connected.”

The video link below is a great one to highlight this idea to students. It shows Ed Sheeran playing one of his teenage recordings during a TV interview (about 50 seconds into the clip). He just can’t hit the notes - it sounds hilarious! Watch out for an s-bomb from Jonathan Ross though…

And feel free to try the slides below until they self-destruct at February Half Term…

If you would like to learn more about our Tutor resource Slides and online Portal, please use the link below to book a meeting with us.

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.

Last week we shared a practice activity called RAG-rated Revisits that didn’t make the cut:

And here’s a systems activity called Multiple Sittings that has since been absorbed into another activity. We still use it in its original form though, particularly as an activity to beat procrastination when we’re coaching reluctant students who can’t seem to get started…

And that’s it for now. Have a great weekend! All the best to you and yours,

Tony, Martin and Steve