Friday Mindset #120

Helping students get better at studenting

Happy Friday fellow warriors, and welcome to a weekend that’s - according to the Co-op’s ill-fated advertising campaign a few years ago… “a third longer.”

Um… but is it?

(It happens. Martin, in a sudden panic about the date, hastily added a solemn moment of reflection about 9/11 to an assembly he was delivering… on the 9th of November.)

Anyway, it’s not nice to laugh at the gaffes of others, so pipe down and let’s dive in…

Something to try...

We’ve admired Adam Mastroianni’s Substack, Experimental History, for some time now. Mastroianni’s a psychology maven; undergrad at Princeton, post-grad at Oxford, and his writing is funny, arch and always insightful.

One recent post stuck out for us. It would make a superb tutorial group-read. In it, Mastroianni explores the idea of being stuck, using the metaphor of a bog… and gives us some language to explore and describe that stuck feeling.

The post is here, including audio:

But a shortened word-doc version we’ve prepared for you is here:

Students in exam groups - or elsewhere in the school - can read and reflect, perhaps make plans for the coming weeks, and especially for the May half term. You’re going to find lots to love in this piece, we promise!

(Note: you can’t both listen and read along using our word doc because we’ve cut sections.)

Something we're reading...

Regular readers of this newsletter will have no-doubt tired of us banging on about the importance of judiciously decreasing screen-use in learning. We’ve shared papers which demonstrate students understand and remember material more effectively if it’s read on paper, that students learn more effectively when handwriting than they do when typing. We’ve bent your ear more than once about Dynarski’s No Laptops in the Lecture Hall… the list goes on.

There will be very little surprise, therefore, when we say we love the work of New York University’s acclaimed social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. And this project is his newest.

There’s a lot to dig into here, and we’ve enjoyed exploring:

Portal Talk...

You may have noticed some changes to the layout of the VESPA Portal recently, as we have been doing some spring cleaning and adding some long awaited features, giving it a cleaner look with fewer tabs. And there are more exciting changes to come as our developers put the finishing touches to our new “Coaching Portal” …more to follow on this very soon!!

We also making some changes to our pricing and will be discontinuing our BRONZE and SILVER packages from July, moving to a simpler, “one price for everything” model.

The great news is that the price for our full suite of student products is staying at just £5 per student, but will also include all the new coaching features. For more information please use the link below to go to our website - .

While you’re there you might want to check out our two new pages, the first showing some new case studies from our partner schools across the world, the second a cool map allowing you to see the location of all the schools currently using the VESPA Portal.


Finally we are offering our loyal newsletter readers an exclusive 20% Spring Discount Code which can be used to purchase or renew a subscription. Simply use the code - FridayMind20 in our order form between now and the end of term.

If you have any questions about the portal or would like to book in a free demo, please use the link below to get in touch.

Wishing you all a restful and fun bank holiday weekend!

Our latest offer...

The VESPA Handbook has arrived at Crown House HQ this week and we’re super-excited. Copies are ready to be posted out, even though Amazon aren’t shipping for another two weeks. So if you fancy getting your hands on it, we’ve worked with the lovely folk at Crown House to arrange a 20% discount for you. Here’s the deets:

And that’s it for now. Enjoy a weekend that’s fifty percent longer! All the best to you and yours,

Tony, Martin and Steve

p.s. We really loved this short piece about ‘scenius’ - a concept first suggested many years ago by Brian Eno, but one that is nevertheless new to us. Scenius is the communal form of genius; creative and curious intelligence born from the cooperation of a group of thinkers.

A really well-run school or college has scenius. Or, thinking smaller, a year group, a class or tutor group can have it: