Growth Mindset: Walk the Talk

Education, Memory, Mindset, Motivation, Teaching and Learning

I have been to a fair few terrible CPD days in my teaching career. One of the worst I wrote about here and the best by far were ResearchED and the Education Festival.

ResearchED and the Festival of Education are head and shoulders above the rest because sessions were practical and actionable. I left inspired, full of ideas that I could implement the very next day in the classroom. That is the mark of truly great CPD.

When the Growth Mindset philosophy exploded into schools I was ecstatic. I had seen firsthand the impact having such an approach to teaching and learning can have in a stellar PRU I taught in. I had also grown up surrounded by it, at LPT my parents had been advocating the philosophy for decades and it is at the core of every programme we design.

I would be lying to you if I didn’t confess I was dubious too. Growth Mindset is marvellous, but incredibly difficult to make tangible. As a result, it is easy to fall into the meaningless “you can achieve anything” band camp. An excellent, heart – felt mantra, that ultimately does little to help young people grow.

Yes, any child can achieve anything but only with a bucket – load of hard work, the ability to bounce – back, to learn, develop and grow from life’s inevitable hard lessons of rejection, obstacles, and negativity.

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This is the score used in rehearsals by a well known soprano. 10% genius, 90% hard work. Shared by @fimetic on Twitter.

That is no easy task, and one assembly on having a Growth Mindset isn’t going to cut it. Children need to be equipped with practical strategies. Teachers need to be open about their own mindset (we are human after all!) and above all, know how they can implement the Growth Mindset philosophy in their classroom and school.

That is why I wrote Growth Mindset: Walk the Talk – a practical CPD programme that aims to make the philosophy tangible and actionable by focusing on ideas, techniques, research and case studies.

It’s had such a great demand from schools that I’m thrilled to be running the event at King’s College London on Friday 1st July 2016. Tickets are extremely limited (we only have a few left!) so book here

I look forward to meeting you!

Carrie Signature 2016

The Philosophy of Memory Part 2; Mindset

Creativity, Education, Exams, Memory, Mindset, Motivation, Revision, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

Henry Ford’s, “If you think you can or you think can’t, you’re right,” is the lifeblood running through all our programmes for young people. So much so, it’s part 2 of our Philosophy of Memory!

Strategies for Success AI

Mindset and self – belief is vital. Memory techniques is a big part of this as they demonstrate the brain’s plasticity – it can develop and grow. Intelligence is not fixed.

Often during our workshops students are amazed at just how much they can recall when they use a technique. Their mindset is transformed from “There’s no way I can remember all that,” to “I can do it!”

Getting rid of that little fixed voice that whispers, “you can’t do this,” is one step towards conquering all those obstacles that stop pupils achieving.

You got this.

#MemoryMatters

2015 in Review

Education, Learning, Motivation, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

2015 has been the year of lists. From the ‘to do’ list to the ‘great idea, let’s do it’ list, we have been one busy hive of activity. I can think of no better way to celebrate the year of 2015 but with a list!

  1. January and February: Cold, murky, mental months. We hit a record number of schools during this time and it was awesome.
  2. March: The final countdown to the Easter break and thus, revision workshops. We had to recruit more fabulous people to join our team to meet demand. Also awesome.
  3. April and May: A joyful blur. Develop new programmes. Assess impact. A chance to recoup, gather strength and pace.
  4. June: Proud to be part of the incredible Sunday Times Education Festival talking about inspiring a love of learning.
  5. July and August: Launch of our summer school programme. Results day. Holiday? Check.
  6. September: Kick -starting the new academic year with the Managing Director speaking at the National ResearchED conference. Launch of our new KS3 literacy and numeracy programme and Success Passports. In just 3 months they are now loved by over 50 schools across the UK.
  7. October: It was frightfully wicked with a meeting with Mr Nick Gibb MP.
  8. November: Unbelievable successful, busy month finished perfectly with our Presenter Conference
  9. December: Reflection, preparation. Festive frolics and many, many thanks for a joyful, inspirational year.
  10. Share a short, sweet, funny video of who we are. Done.

 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you in 2016.

What motivates you?

Education, Motivation

Got motivation?

The motivation to achieve is what really creates that passion and buzz in what you are doing. Within education I believe that state of mind and motivation is the key to success. So much has been written regarding motivation and the effects it has on us as individuals, yet motivation is often hard to define. What’s motivating varies depending on the individual, which is why motivation is such a unique process.

The reason behind why we are doing something is too easily forgotten. Excitement, enthusiasm and passion not only come from a love of something, but also knowing what it is you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. Things wont always work out perfectly, but it’s about having the mentality to keep going.

keep-trying-dont-give-up

Motivation is essentially based on our feelings, our thought processes and how we act on these. For example, a student may be motivated to work hard because their thought process is that they don’t want the shame and humiliation of failing. Or, a student may be focused on the pride and self-satisfaction that they will receive if they do well. Motivation is personal to each of us, it’s about having a focus in mind so that even when you want to give up, (which at times we all definitely do) there is something telling you not to. I think what’s important is getting students to think about this. These feelings are the side effects and triggers to motivation.

dont give up

Thoughts trigger action and therefore discussing what motivates a student is an incredible way of getting them focussed on wanting to achieve. Making someone self-aware can have fantastic results. Visualising where you want to be, thinking of goals and how you are going to get there, is what motivates most of us and influences how committed we are to something.

In terms of education, this doesn’t just mean thinking short-term. It’s about more than being motivated to get a good mark in an essay, or getting the results they need to go to college; it’s about being motivated to work towards the future you visualise. Thinking about what you can do in the short-term to enable yourself to get to where you want to be in the future. Channelling that thought process into everyday school life creates goal-orientated individuals that know the meaning behind why they are doing something.

future

It makes me sad to think that there are young people out there that lack the motivation they need to reach their full potential. Underachieving due to this is so easily avoided. Motivation 100% affects learning and behaviour in schools. It gives students the energy to keep going and creates the high effort levels needed to achieve. When you are motivated you have the ability to confront challenges you face. It makes an aspiring individual and determines the direction you take.

I believe that discussing what motivates you should without doubt be a focus within school, helping to encourage that love and want to learn from a young age. Being motivated forms a whole new outlook to life and makes students take responsibility for their own education. Motivation is not just something that benefits students now, but throughout the whole of their life. It creates an improved performance in  everyone and enables each of us to maintain a positive attitude.

Work hard, dream big and make things happen.

motivation2

Written by Holly Chandler

An Interview with a Presenter

Creativity, Education, Learning, Learning Performance, Motivation, Pupil Premium, Revision, Study Skills

At Learning Performance we have such a talented and inspiring team of presenters we thought it only fair that we spread their awesomeness across the blog-a-sphere.

We caught up with our presenter, Eric, who has worked with us for over 12 years, to give you an insight into the work we do with schools across the UK.

Q: Why Did You Start Working for Learning Performance?

I have always enjoyed being around young people and wanted to work with them for a long time. I was looking into becoming a supply teacher when I learned about LP.

Q: What Was Your Background Before You Became A Presenter?

I worked for British Airways for many years. I still run corporate training there and at other organisations around the UK. I also lecture part time at a University on Sales and Marketing.

Q: Which Workshops Do You Enjoy Leading The Most?

All the workshops are fun to present. What I find most rewarding and enjoyable is trying to tap into what will most benefit the individuals in the room. It is often something to do with motivation, stress or feeling overwhelmed. I love it when they see that they can take control and get inspired to make good choices.

Q: What Is A Typical Day Like In The Life Of A Presenter?

It starts a week or so before the job when we need to plan how we will get there (we work all over the UK and sometimes Europe). We also get notes from LP letting us know what’s expected (timing, special requests, a bit about the school and students). We aim to get there at least a half an hour before we start. That gives us a chance to speak to the teachers and set up our rooms so that we are ready when the students arrive. A cup of tea is nice at this point as well!

Time to prepare in the morning can make a big difference, particularly to the all-important first impressions. There are also days when we just walk right into a classroom full of staring faces.  The challenge either way is to get them interacting and involved as soon as possible. It’s a workshop, not a lecture!

We spend most of our time introducing new concepts and getting the students to try them out. Some things take more convincing than others. I tend to tell the participants funny stories about my own life and how this stuff has worked for me.

I always try to leave the day on a high. The children or young adults we’ve spoken to should feel good about learning new techniques, but also inspired to actually use them.

Q: Why Is It So Important To Inject The Current Curriculum With Creativity? 

There are so many reasons;

1.  We learn more quickly and hold onto information better when it is creative. Try this; think of a horse. Are you picturing the word “horse” or an image of a horse? I bet it was an image. Our brains think in pictures and for memory effectiveness we often need to link words to something creative like a picture, a song, a movement, a diagram – even a smell.

2.  Long term, the best and most satisfying jobs will go to people who can come up with creative solutions to problems. Anybody can just do what has always been done, but a leader finds a new and better way. If we don’t stretch the creative side of the brain and practice the discipline to learn at school, how are we preparing ourselves to do so in business or our personal lives later on in life?

Q: Which Age Groups Do You Enjoy Working With Most And Why? 

15-18 year olds. I love working with students who are feeling adult pressures and making adult choices, but still have the open-minded optimism of youth. Sometimes you need to convince the cynics that they can learn more easily or make learning fun. I enjoy that challenge. It’s like when athletes talk about “marginal gains”. The little changes we can all make that might not make a big difference individually, but can add up to success. Often the cynical ones just need to see that they make a difference with every choice they make. They can then decide if they are willing to work for a positive or negative outcome.

Last autumn I did a number of workshops with very young children (years 1-6). Their boundless energy, excitement and unconditional love is hard not to enjoy also.

Q: Many Children Suffer From Low Self-Esteem And Low Confidence. How Do Your Workshops Address This?

Those children are the reason I got into this work in the first place. I think that lack of self-esteem is probably the biggest reason the students I see are under-performing. I get them to try tasks and see that they can succeed. I sometimes get them doing things that they are bound to fail at the first time, so we can talk about learning from mistakes and being prepared.  For this I have some complicated yoga moves that work really well.

I’m tough on them when I hear excuses and negative self-talk. It is too easy to blame personal problems for our failure; dyslexia, unsupportive family, teachers we don’t like…There are so many excuses that prevent us from trying hard. Success doesn’t come without trying hard.  Like they say, “you have to work hard to get lucky”. The most successful people are often those who had the biggest battles to fight, because they learned from an early age to be responsible for their own success (or failure).

Q: What Has Been Your Proudest Moment As A LP Presenter?

I was at a university in Essex a few years ago when a new student stopped me. He remembered me from the LP workshop I ran at his school a couple of years before. He said it was the reason he was at university. He may have been exaggerating, but I have never been as proud of what I do as I was at that moment.

Wow. Thank You For Being Part Of Our Team Eric.

Forget Paxman – The Real University Challenge

Education, Exams, Learning, Motivation, Politics

More young people than ever are applying to university, with 495,600 getting a place in higher education in 2013.  That’s a lot of teenagers applying for the same courses.  I found out recently that the most popular of these can have up to 18 applicants per available place – what?!

I know what you’re thinking.  Not another student complaining how hard their life is, how difficult applying to university is, bla bla bla.  But give me a chance – I promise I won’t moan too much…actually don’t hold me to that one!

A lot of changes concerning higher education have happened during my time at secondary school, notably the rise in tuition fees.  The pantomime villain responsible for this, according to most students, is Nick Clegg.  After Clegg (boo hiss) promised the National Union of Students that he would oppose any rise in fees, the coalition government proceeded to increase the cap on the amount to be charged to £9000 a year.  Hmmm.

My main memories from this time are of the student marches in London and the auto-tuned YouTube parody of Nick Clegg’s apology (if you haven’t already seen it you’re missing out).  However, now that it’s time for me to start the university application process myself, I’m realising how much of an impact changes such as this are going to have on the choices I make.

It could be argued that the rise in tuition fees has had some positive effects.   After a dip in applications in 2012, numbers have continued to rise.  The difference is that teenagers have to think much more carefully about university – it’s no longer an option if you aren’t sure about any aspect of university life, or your course.  Interestingly, despite the increasing price of attending university, the numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering higher education have never been larger – the reasons for this welcomed change are not yet clear.

Since higher fees have encouraged teenagers to look into other ways of gaining further education, it could be argued that this has prevented many young people from making the wrong decision.  Unfortunately, I know of a few students who have taken up a course and realised that it wasn’t what they wanted a few years in.  Now that tuition is so high, dropping out or switching courses is a huge decision to make; £9000 is a lot of money to ‘waste’.  As a result, it seems to some students that once you begin at university, there really is no going back.

The main thing that I have noticed since starting to consider higher education is the increased pressure to guarantee employment after your course ends.  Again, this is largely down to the amount of money you are investing – it makes sense to want to get something back!  The continued popularity of medicine, education and law courses support this idea, but what about those of us who don’t want this sort of job?

It seems to me that more and more people are choosing a subject because of its employability levels rather than how passionate they are about it.  Three years is a long time to study something you hate, even if you do get a ridiculously well paid job out of it.  This is one of the main issues with increasing the price of going to university; I’d like to think we should at least partly be motivated by doing something that we love.  Maybe that’s a little naïve.  Perhaps the opportunity to study for pleasure is one only available to a privileged few, with everyone else having to think in more practical terms.

I’ve faced issues frequently since deciding that I want to study English at undergraduate level.  Even though I love the subject, many people seem to see it as a waste of time.  When I tell people about my plans, a common reaction is a kind of strained smile followed by: “So do you want to be a teacher then?”  As well intentioned as this comment is, I often feel like screaming: ‘NO.  NO I DO NOT WANT TO BE A TEACHER’ (don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate teachers – I just don’t fancy it as a career).  The other frequent reaction is a look of surprise and a comment about me being ‘a clever girl’ – why don’t I want to study law or ‘something sciencey’ instead?

The answer?  I love literature and I always have done.  I’m not put off by the very small amount of contact hours for arts degrees and I want to do something that I’m good at.  I’ll confess:  I don’t yet know exactly what career path I want to take upon the completion of my degree (shock horror).  I’m sorry if at the age of 17 I don’t know how I want to spend my entire future – I’m certainly not the only one.

My last year of A-levels is going to be packed with decisions and applications.  The most pressing concern upon my return to college is writing my personal statement, something which seems to involve a whole military style procession of checks, redrafts, more checks and rewording.  Who would have thought that 4000 characters could be so intimidating!  The fact is that competition for courses at some universities is so fierce that a good personal statement is more valuable to a student than an iPhone.  Well, I say that…

But what about those who might not have had as much help with their personal statement?  There is still a heated debate over whether success depends primarily on preparation or natural talent.  Many people are complaining that a system which favours pupils who have been ‘trained’ during their A- levels reflects unfairly on those who attend less affluent schools or colleges.  Are university applications still affected by issues of class?

Essentially the UCAS application process seems to me like one big competition (I’m thinking a Crufts style arena and everything) where only the students with the best grades, the best work experience and the best interview technique  get to go where they really want.  No pressure then.

I know that there are options other than university, some of which are absolutely brilliant.  But for me personally, I feel this is the right choice – unfortunately this means A LOT of work for me over the next twelve months, as well as for the other estimated 500,000 – 600,000 people applying through UCAS this year.  Despite this I’m still excited about (hopefully) starting university in 2015.   I’m telling you, it had better be worth it!

Learning is Fun. Promise.

Creativity, Education, Learning, Learning Performance, Motivation, Teacher Resources

“I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.”

Natalie Portman

I was so disheartened last night after a twitter conversation with @tesbehaviour that I fancied crawling under the bedcovers, only resurfacing for flapjacks and custard creams – the two best things in the world.

I didn’t do that, of course, tempting as it was but I did have a cup of tea with custard creams – any excuse.

A well – respected educational resource with a large following said “learning can’t always be fun.” Five trigger words that makes me want to leap onto my moral horse and gallop into the teaching battlefield screaming ‘Infidels! Fun Learning War!’ 

I am a realist. I do realise that not every lesson will be a roller coaster of rip – roaring laughter. We are teachers, not stand-up comedians. So it is important to realise ‘fun’ doesn’t just mean mucking about.

‘Fun’ is defined as something that brings pleasure or enjoyment.’  Synonyms are; interesting, engaging, & gratifying.

Surely that is exactly what learning should be?! 

To argue students misbehave because they are bored or think its funny is missing the point. Pupils shouldn’t be bored or having to seek their amusement elsewhere. Lessons that engage, interest and gratify students demonstrate that education and school has tangible value. And when we value something, we pay attention and work hard.

It doesn’t take much energy, time, planning or imagination to make learning fun and yes, this includes even so – called ‘difficult’ subjects like Maths or Science. See Lesson StartersRevision Games & Creative A – Maps for some quick & adaptable ideas.

And a big thank you to Miss Sykes & Helan Victoria who shared their enthusiasm for learning and preventing me from falling into a custard cream coma.

What we learn with pleasure, we never forget. 

Timing is everything – Time Management

Education, Exams, Learning Performance, Motivation, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources

I’ve been struggling to manage my time recently. There simply isn’t enough hours in the day. So I thought I better sort my chaotic life out, and practice what I preach.

Prioritising 

Everyone likes a good list, especially if you can tick things off immediately. But once I’ve written my list of things to do I rate them. The official line to students is to rate them as per the following:

A = Very Urgent (deadline imminent)

B = Quite Urgent (deadline about a week away)

C = No so Urgent (deadline longer than a week)

Personally, I use colour and symbols. I won’t tell you what the symbols are, they’re rude! Moral of the lesson is that you can use whatever rating system that works for you.

Good Plan

A list is all very good and well but you can action any of the points unless you can plan or know what you are going to do.

This is where my five golden features come into play:

1. Description of the task

2. Allocation of priorities

3. Estimation of the time needed

4. Setting up a timetable (if necessary – this is good for revision)

5. Monitoring of progress (basically a big fat tick when that blasted task is done!)

This may seem very basic and common sense (it is) but I’m always surprised to find students who simply don’t know how to manage their time.

It’s easy to identify pupils (and adults for that matter) who haven’t got effective time management strategies. They are usually the ones drowning in work, buried under the pressure of unfinished assignments and missed deadlines. Then you have the opposite spectrum; those who are so overwhelmed by the tasks ahead they bury their heads in the sand and pretend its not happening.

With exams so close, it may be an idea to remind students of these simple strategies to keep them in track. Failing that encourage them to download an app on their phone. I’m lost without my ScatterBrain app.

For more information please visit our website www.learningperformance.com 

 

The final push to exams!

Education, Exams, Learning, Motivation, Study Skills, Teacher Resources

As exams draw near we are getting increasing queries about how to motivate students or give them that final push!

Let’s not be under any illusion… Motivation is not an exact science and there’s no silver bullet. Responsibility for any individual’s education belongs and always has belonged with that individual. If a student wishes to learn then they will, if not they won’t.

However, there are plenty of motivational theories to choose from such as, Abraham Maslow’s “Need Hierarchy Theory”, “Theory X and Theory Y” of Douglas McGregor, and Goal Setting Theory of Edwin Locke…. to name but a few.

Ours is simple;

Lack of Self-Belief + No Goal + No Plan = LOW MOTIVATION

Lack of self – belief is usually the core issue. If students believe they can’t do something, then why bother putting any effort in? There are a number of things a teacher can do to help encourage students self – belief and confidence. The simplest is praise; positivity can go a long way. After all, you may be the first person to tell them they can achieve.

The other is getting students to look at their mindset. Professor Carol Sweck’s summary of growth and fixed mindset is brilliant. Dweck’s work can open our eyes to the possibilities for growth across different areas of our lives, while alerting us to the fixed mindsets that may be weighing down our careers, relationships, families, or schooling.

Students (and you) can discover what mindset they are with this simple test. Just click on the link to download the questionnaire. What is your mindset

You can then encourage students to grow, develop and achieve.

As Dweck says;

The fixed mindset limits achievement. It fills people’s minds with interfering thoughts, it makes effort disagreeable, and it leads to inferior learning strategies. What’s more, it makes other people into judges instead of allies. Whether we’re talking about Darwin or college students, important achievements require clear focus, all-out effort, and a bottomless trunk full of strategies. This is what the growth mindset gives people, and that’s why it helps their abilities grow and bear fruit.

To book a motivation workshop for students or staff contact us on 01903 872 849 or email carrie@learningperformance.com

www.learningperformance.com

@LPerformance