BGS Mindset in the 6th Form
Students follow a prescribed programme of activities on a weekly basis during their morning tutor periods. Mindset Mondays, focus on activities which are designed to provoke thought and provide students with tools that aid and support their learning and which enable them to work independently. It is hoped that the activities that are explored in tutorial periods are then transferrable for use in specific subject lessons and also during Private Study time, where the ability to work independently and with focus is an essential part of being a responsible Sixth Form Student.
Students undertake debate and discussion activities on Tuesdays, to encourage them to gain confidence in public speaking and self-expression, whilst learning also how to respond with both challenge and empathy to the views of others where they might differ from our own.
On Wednesdays, students are expected to direct their own learning in tutor period. During Well-being Wednesdays, students may read, conduct revision, take time to organise their folders or simply engage in a quiet, relaxing activity. In a noisy world, some quiet, reflective time can help to restore our energy and well-being.
Thursday's tutor time activities focus on teaching students about financial matters, such as savings, interest rates, loans and credit and other elements that will be essential for any student taking their first, fully independent steps into the world beyond school. As many students move out of the family home when they leave Sixth Form, to go to University, a good financial understanding will help them to learn how to budget and monitor their spending.
Each Friday, Sixth Form students participate in our 'Virtual Assembly'. Led by the Head of Sixth Form over Microsoft Teams, the assembly follows set themes (often linked with those within the weekly newsletter) each week and encourages our students to consider a broad range of topics that are relevant to them and also the world in which we live and work.
Monday Mindset activities follow a five-point plan, known as VESPA. This model was devised by Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin, experienced teachers from the North West of England. Each letter of the word VESPA covers a key area of learning as follows:
Students perform well in their learning when they have a clear vision relating to their future plans. Some students know exactly what their future learning/career path will be, whilst others struggle to know what their options will be. Even if students cannot see the long-term picture, it is still possible for them to have a focus that is more short-term, to allow them to have reachable goals and aims.
As an example of an activity, students are encouraged to consider their long and short term goals. They can do this by collecting photographs or images which relate to their future plans and keeping them in the front of their book. This reminds students of their goals every time that they open their book. Shorter term goals include thinking ahead to imagine what students would like their next Assessment Grade sheet to look like, then considering what they need to do in each class to make it happen.
Whilst students are aware that improved performance requires them to engage with effort, they are not always clear about how best to implement their focus to ensure maximum impact. The number of hours of independent study a student is willing to do, will impact on their ability to be successful, particularly in their later years in school.
Students are encouraged to recognise the myth of effortless success. Activities encourage them to think about the amount of time they are spending on their home learning as well as how they are spending the time. The more economic they can be with the time they are using, the better the outcomes should be. Effort x Practice = Efficient returns on your investment!
The most organised students tend to also be the highest performers. They plan ahead and know how they are going to spend their time. The most efficient students have systems which help them to understand and engage with their learning and also systems which help them to complete key activities and tasks to given deadlines.
System based activities are designed to help students who struggle with their personal organisational skills to learn ways to help themselves become better at prioritising tasks. A timeline activity used in form time can help students to determine categories of tasks from their ‘to-do’ lists to ensure that they place urgent tasks at the front of the queue and don’t block them by trying to complete other activities which could wait longer.
Students often refer to revision as a specific task which arrives just before the exam or test period in the school calendar. So many students think of revision as the creation of cue-cards, the reading of their text book or notes, or making mind maps. Whilst all of these are relevant and helpful tasks, the only teach the knowledge and not how to apply it.
Attitude plays an enormous part in the success of a student. Our work as part of the Mindset programme encourages students to recognise traits in their own attitude and how to use these to advantage where they are positive or how to suppress them, where they encourage negativity or a loss of self-belief.