The Friday Mindset #111

All the ones, boyo

Happy Friday!

We made it, friends, we actually made it.

OK, one item of admin before we start: we loved delivering our VESPA training day on December 11th last year - 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!

Right, that’s done. Lots to share this week, let’s dive in!

Something to try...

We recently sat down for a really interesting call with a sixth form college on the subject of target-setting. The staff member we chatted to was understandably concerned about the quality of the targets some students were setting following discussions with tutors. We’ve probably all been there before: kids end up writing, “do more work” or “try harder in class” or “revise more”… and we know these learning goals are so poorly expressed nothing’s going to happen.

We ended up digging out an old vision activity to share, then later realised we’d never thrown it on the newsletter. We’ve given it a polish and here it is - very quick and very simple, it’s a guide for setting SMART targets that have a much higher chance of sticking, with a framework for expression that students have to follow.

Hope it’s useful…

Something we're reading...

This piece by prof Daniel Willingham has really got us thinking. It’s a thorough, readable overview of the effect praise has on student behaviour. It’s been one of those articles we’ve read whilst wincing as it points out mistakes we’re still making. Ouch.

A particularly painful realisation concerned the phrase “keep it up”, which we still use regularly, and will need to re-think in certain contexts - Willingham calls it a ‘controlling element’ of praise; a component that undercuts the positive, implying it can withdrawn unless certain behaviours continue.

There’s plenty more to get you thinking here too. Have a look…

Our latest offer...

This is the time of year we run our free webinars!

Last year we ran two: ‘Motivation - a crash course’ and ‘Effective Evidence-based Revision’. This time we’ve got one called ‘Building Student Aspiration’ - a session suitable for KS4 or 5 staff that’s going to explore how we can use tutorials/lessons to encourage students’ future-thinking, future-readiness, university aspiration and cultural capital. There’ll be practical ideas you can use straight away in class or assembly.

We keep these small so we can open up for questions and discussion. Here are the details:

Building Student Aspiration: Monday 12th February, 3:40-4:40pm, Zoom

If you want the link, email [email protected] and we’ll send it through. We won’t be recording the session, but we will likely run it twice.

Right, that’s it for this week! Let’s get this party started. Sending out the message to all of my friends, we'll be looking flashy in a Mercedes Benz, etc*

All the best to you and yours,

Martin, Steve and Tony

*for clarification, no-one at VESPA either ‘looks flashy’ or owns a Mercedes Benz.


We recently googled ourselves - can’t remember why - and this turned up. We have absolutely no idea what this building is, or why an imaginary school seemingly associated with us is located next door to Wing Yip - a famous Manchester institution and killer Asian food-supplies supermarket - on Oldham Road. We guess this is why we’ve been getting emails from parents asking if they can enrol their children at our organisation. Weird. For clarity: we’re three teachers who teach, write, visit schools and operate out of our spare rooms when we’ve got a minute. No Mercedes Benz… and certainly no anonymous redbrick premises in North Manchester either!