Friday Mindset #123

Helping students get better at studenting

Happy Friday, folks.

Exam season, so we’re all in a hurry. Last thing we want to do is fritter precious time on an introduction peppered with out-of-date references and sub-par humour.

We’ve got exciting things to share - let’s dive in…

Something to try...

Unsupervised study “…seemed like science fiction”

Remember our central-London training day back in December 2023? (We bent your ear about coming along, if you recall…) One of the attendees, Klara, has been in touch to share how things have been going since she’s worked alongside staff to put some of the VESPA principles in place. Here’s an extract from her email to us:

An account of how culture can change with focused effort…

We’re delighted for her! Many congratulations Klara - raised expectations, clear instructions and patient, focused support have really helped your students get to the next level. You’ve started something very impressive and exciting here. (Our two-hour staff training session on Developing Independent Learners isn’t among the training mentioned on the website - but goes down very well! Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how your organisation can begin to make these changes too.)

And Klara didn’t stop there.

She’s given us her kind permission to share a photograph of her VESPA wall mural. What we love about this are the conceptual ideas that orbit each element of the model: ‘challenge-seeking goals’, ‘overcoming fear’, ‘activation energy’, and ‘collect, capture and reflect’, for example. Top draw. Feel free to use this as inspiration!

The VESPA mural

A copy of the picture can be downloaded for close scrutiny here.

Something we're reading...

We were recommended Jerry Seinfeld’s Commencement Speech at Duke University recently. “There’s some ideas in there you guys will like”, someone told us. So we checked it out. And it’s good stuff! The full speech, at 16 minutes, is worth a watch…

He’s a measured but very funny speaker, as you’d expect, but there are indeed some really good pieces of advice about vision and effort in particular.

We found the full transcript here, and enjoyed reading it. Then we turned it into a handout, clipping the most important messages, and taking a few liberties with structure. If you want to use our version it’s here, complete with a free ‘m’ in commencement 😂 :

Portal talk..

Today I wanted to start sharing some of our exciting new portal developments, I have been working on over the last few weeks.

Following feedback from our amazing schools and colleges, we have now added a student, academic, coaching module to the Portal.

Part of this was to completely redesigned our VESPA report to enable students and tutors to have more effective, targeted, coaching conversations. Our goal was to maximise the, often all too short, 1-1 conversations we have with students.

Following completion of the VESPA questionnaire, students have immediate access to their report. They are prompted to then add their own response, highlighting what they agree / disagree with in the report, and encouraged to highlight their current study practices.

This allows students to be pre-prepared for ensuing 1-1 discussions, during which time tutors can use the bespoke coaching questions to initiate conversations around each of the VESPA elements.

Sections at the bottom of the report enable conversations to be recorded, and specific ,time bound, goals set for the student

The new report and coaching portal will be live from the end of July, in preparation for September 2024.

If you would like to learn more about the new features, arrange a demo, or are thinking about subscribing to the VESPA Academy, please use my calendar link below to arrange a meeting.

Our latest offer...

Back in February we ran a free one-hour webinar called ‘Building Student Aspiration’ - a session suitable for KS4 or 5 staff that explored how we can use tutorials/lessons to encourage students’ future-thinking, future-readiness, university aspiration and cultural capital. There were practical ideas to use straight away in class or assembly.

And we promised we’d repeat it for those who couldn’t attend!

Here are the details of the repeat session:

Building Student Aspiration: Thursday 20th June, 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, so this is your last chance.

Right, that’s it for this week!

All the best to you and yours,

Martin, Steve and Tony