Friday Mindset #80

Free resources, fresh ideas, sessions and offers

Welcome all and happy Friday.

Our newsletter has reached the grand old age of 80 issues! 80. That's old enough to be voting Tory and benefitting from a tax-free top-up on a million-quid pension pot.

Anyway, we've got plenty for you to mull over and you're busy people - so let's dive in.

Something to try...

We're at that stage of the year where we have to start things. Students have lo-ong lists of exam-related tasks; preparation, collation, note-taking, reading, revision. We can tell stories about how next week is a good time to start, or Easter is a good time to start... but since you can't plant the seeds of tomorrow tomorrow... now is the time to begin.

We've been reading this short article, written by a consultant to businesses who often sees start-up teams freeze as they examine competing priorities. Sure, there's lots to do, he argues, but we're already behind. We have to start on something - anything - now.

And as Prof Katy Milkman argues in How to Change, often we need to mark the occasion of 'beginning' with some gesture that becomes psychologically significant - a fresh-start ritual that draws a line in the sand.

We've been thinking a lot about this, and have written an activity for you to try with a student or two... more if you like the look of it. It's called Questify. It's a simple single sheet of A4 encouraging students to begin their revision/independent work/coursework submission/whatever with a grand gesture that marks a change in approach. The beginning of the quest, the first step on a longer journey.

Have fun with it!

Something we're reading...

Connected with this whole starting-anxiety/reluctance thing is the idea that fear may limit our ability to begin work on something.

We still remember vividly a group of students a few years back, who just wouldn't submit their UCAS applications. Their choices were made, their personal statements were complete and their predicted grades were good. Would they hit send? Would they hell. It was fear, pure and simple; fear that things were going to change irrevocably, that they'd lose friends, leave home, encounter difficulties outside the warm certainties they'd lived with for so long...

We wrote about fear and limiting beliefs in The Student Mindset, but re-reading Hannah O'Neil's article about our book on the Action Tutoring website, we were impressed by the adaptation and extension of one of our activities. Top job, Hannah!

Check it out here:

Portal Talk...

Three words guaranteed to put a spring in your step this week; we have some exciting news with the launch of a much awaited feature - VESPA Report Printing!

Yes, many of you have enquired about the possibility of generating a merged pdf file so you can print off student VESPA reports more easily. And we're delighted to announce that we're in the final stages of testing, and that this feature will be available from next week. Even better, it'll be completely free for those already signed up to the portal for the remainder of your current subscription. A video on how to use the feature to generate the merge will appear in next week's Portal Talk.

And in other news - we've had a really positive response to our request for student withdrawals for our retention study with Manchester Metropolitan University, and have nearly 200 sets of anonymised student data. If you are currently subscribed to the VESPA portal and are interested in joining the study, it's not too late! Please use the form below to get in touch:

Finally, if you're not yet subscribed to the VESPA portal and would like to find out more please get in touch at [email protected] or use the link below to book a free demo:

Our latest offer...

There's still a place or two left on this, coming up on March 23rd, 4:00-6:30pm... 15 activities, all around effective revision!

And a last reminder for our Teaching Effective Revision webinar, a mop-up from last time running on Tuesday 28th of March, 3:45-4:45pm:


Meeting ID: 868 6869 8210

Passcode: 026189...

Oh, and heads-up, we're going to be running one other newsletter-advertised webinar in the Spring, this one on Implementing VESPA. Dates coming soon for that one, so keep your eyes peeled.

Alright folks, that's it for this week. Get out into the weekend, enjoy all that that extra cash the budget has put in your pockets. Um...

All the best to you and yours,

Steve, Martin and Tony