Friday Mindset #88

Free resources, fresh ideas, sessions and offers

Happy Friday!

Surely one of the happiest of the year. The sun is out in an azure sky, the exams are in full flow, and the half-term ahead promises just a little more time for planning exciting schemes. Plus ice cream, right? Get the fancy flavours while you can…

We’ll be taking a break next week but we’ll see you again after that. Don’t go just yet though folks - we’ve got some cool bits-and-bobs to share with you this week. Let’s dive in!

Something to try...

We were struck by this article about future-discounting. It explains how we’re often poor at deferring gratification because our imaginations cannot conjure up sufficiently vivid images of a future state, which means,

  • we don’t study hard enough because we can’t really imagine what it might be like to be at a particular university.

  • or we goof around avoiding revision because we can’t vividly imagine the triumph of great exam results, it all feels too abstract.

The full article is here, but we found it a tricky read at times - prob’ly just tired - so we’ve filleted the best bits and turned them into a simple one-sided word document for students. Article first:

Word doc next:

We’re going to use this as an introduction to an activity called ‘Fix Your Dashboard’ from ‘The A Level Mindset’. We’re aiming for all Year 13s we’re working with next year to be developing a vivid, magnetic vision of what they want to achieve and why, so that they’re less likely to future-discount! Images will be crucial, which will mean research, but there’s plenty of time for that once the exams are done…

Something we're reading...

Daniel Willingham’s Outsmart Your Brain is really very good indeed. We’re approaching half-way, and really appreciating the clarity of expression and evidence-based advice. Willingham is probably best-known for Why Don’t Students Like School? - we enjoyed that one too, back in the day - and this is a worthy follow-up. Here’s a quick preview as an example:

Highly recommended, folks.

Portal Talk...

Another case study this week - from one of our new, international, VESPA affiliates!

The University of Pretoria have a programme to engage students from backgrounds with limited prior experience of Higher Education. Fanie Walters, Lecturer in Economic and Management Studies and course co-ordinator, got in touch with us about the project in January. His plan, having read the A Level Mindset book, was to use VESPA activities to develop study skills among the cohort to better equip them for higher education study. Staff and Student Mentors undertook VESPA training with Martin and the new cohort of students completed the first cycle of the questionnaire. To gain additional insights into the behaviours of his students, Mr Walters requested some additional questions (shown below). Working together we added these bespoke questions to the online questionnaire so that only his students could see them and answer them.

Most students have now completed the first cycle of the questionnaire and we have started the process of analysing the responses and considering next steps, and will report back with our insights when this analysis is complete.

The additional questions added to the University of Pretoria’s Questionnaire can be viewed below and having shared these, we’ve had number of requests to add the same or similar question. We’ve now decided to offer this as a service for those purchasing the VESPA Questionnaire - we figured it’s a great way to run a student voice survey at the same time as the VESPA questionnaire. If you’re a current user of the VESPA questionnaire, or a college that is interested in implementing it in September and would like more information about developing a bespoke student voice questionnaire, please get in touch at [email protected].

Additional Questions added by the University of Pretoria: (Likert Scale 1-5, Strongly Disagree - Strongly Agree)

  1. I eat regularly (at least 3 times daily) and healthily

  2. I sleep around 7-8 hours every night

  3. I spend quality time with friends and/or family members

  4. I go for walks or runs and/or play sport 3–4 times a week.

  5. I know which 'recharge'-routines work best for me

  6. I limit my screentime (phone / binge watching etc)

Our latest offer...

We’re be offering a discount on our online materials if purchased in June. Woo! If you use the code VAJUNE23, you’ll get a 20% discount on any of our online materials - that’s questionnaires or resources. Check out what we’re offering here:

And that’s it for this half term!

Have a great break, pack a good book, don’t forget your suncream… and if you see any Honeycomb ice creams anywhere, snaffle ‘em - those bad boys are going to be rare.

All the best to you and yours,

Tony, Martin and Steve