Friday Mindset #115

Helping students get better at studenting

Happy Friday!

The sun was out for a second back there. OMG. Quick, we need to get out into the staff car park and top-up our vitamin D. Not just yet though… there’s a few things we want to share.

A quick reminder:

Staff training/CPD dates are still available in the summer term. If you want a training session that

  • introduces the VESPA model and demonstrates how to deliver activities

  • dives deep on any aspect of VESPA, such as ‘improving effort’ or ‘raising aspiration’

  • explores how to develop a culture of independent learning

  • looks at successfully coaching students

just give us a shout at [email protected].

OK, we got a ton to share. Let’s go.

Something to try...

We’ve really enjoyed listening to performance psychologist Dr Gio Valiante. Usually he’s hired by sports stars (golfers, by the look of his website) or other competitors to nuance and finesse the psychological components of their performance under pressure. In this clip, he’s talking about large-scale analyses of people revealing one of two orientations when it comes to challenge - ‘mastery’ and ‘ego’ (‘image management’, he calls it) - the ‘human why’ that underlies how we behave the way we do when we face these challenges.

This is probably familiar stuff - we’ve certainly read a lot about mastery goals versus performance goals, for example, but Valiante has a fresh, engaging way of expressing the ideas that might appeal to listening students. Here’s a little excerpt:

“[Let’s imagine] two individuals, everything else being equal—same education, same ability, same training, same everything. One of them goes at their craft or at their domain or at their career from a place of, “I love to learn. I love to problem-solve. I go into depth with these things and … I’m not engaged in image management.” The second individual goes in, competing against other people, over-caring about what people think; success is only defined by that which is palpable or tangible, like they’re playing for trophies. Then you fail—because if you’re … trying to get at the tail end of the curve, you’re going to fail—and you react with embarrassment. When we talk about the toxic emotions, embarrassment is—depends on the person—but it’s one of the two most painful psychological experiences a person can have."

So ego-oriented people feel failure painfully, embarrassingly, whereas mastery-oriented mindsets respond to failure with curiosity. (“Interesting. Why did that happen? How can I improve next time?”)

This link will jump you exactly the right five-minute section if you fancy sharing with students:

And this image might go well with the above - a handy guide to using the language of hope rather than blind optimism when discussing setbacks, challenges or failures. This isn’t our work, but we can’t remember where we first came across it, so apologies to whoever first developed and shared!

Something we're reading...

This is a fascinating article, and one we’ve been meaning to share for over a month - we just haven’t had a moment to slot it in. Apologies, then, if you’ve already read this. If you haven’t, it’s essential: “deeper semantic coding” occurs when we read off paper rather than a screen. However, to quote the article… “Drunk on the magical realism and exaggerated promises of the “digital revolution”, school districts are eagerly converting to computerized test-taking and screen-reading programs at the precise moment when rigorous scientific research is showing that the old-fashioned paper method is better for teaching children how to read…”

Next week, we’ll share an equivalent study that looks at whether notes are more effectively processed when typed or hand-written. 

Go on, have a guess.

Portal talk / Our latest offer...

Its been a while since I last posted, promising a new Revision Planning App, ….well here it is, finally ready for testing by you wonderful people!

We’ve added it to our student portal without any marketing or fuss, just to see if students use it, and the response has been pretty overwhelming… so far hundreds have taken it upon themselves to experiment, using the app to create revision plans and schedule sessions, which populate to their digital calendar. We’d like to open this out to students who are not registered on our portal and get your feedback on how we can improve this beta version.

The app, which can be downloaded onto any mobile device, allows students to plan a week of revision, selecting as little as 1 or as many as 21 revision sessions. There are up to 3 revision slots per day for students to select. Once selected they are then asked to plan each session, by selecting a subject, topic, activity and also suggest how each activity will be effective. Once they submit the form they are emailed their plan, as a pdf. They also receive a link to plan out their weekly commitments (shown below) and receive calendar reminders for each session plan. Teachers who are subscribed to the portal can also view the sessions planned by their students, making their revision more accountable.

I’ve added some screenshots below of the planning tools, and also a link to download the App, please feel free to share this with students…

Example Sticky Revision Plan

PDF Revision Plan

If you would like to learn more about our student portal, which can be used to view the revision sessions your students are planning, please use the link below to arrange a short meeting, or email me at [email protected] for further info.

And that’s it for this week, folks. Put on your shades and get out there!

All the best to you and yours,

Martin, Steve and Tony