"Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today" - Jordan B. Peterson
A student with a growth mindset believes in their ability to learn, and understands that their skills can be developed over time. A student with a fixed mindset believes that they are born with certain strengths and weaknesses that cannot be changed.
For example, take a student that has always found Maths difficult. If this student has a fixed mindset they may believe that they are just "not good" at Maths or Maths "isn't their thing". If, instead, this student has a growth mindset, they will see the difference between where they are and where they want to be as a gap that can be filled by developing their skills in Maths.
A growth mindset is not only necessary to succeed in school, but in all areas of life from our careers to our relationships to our health. Helping your students break through their limiting beliefs around what they can and cannot do is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
Time management skills are foundational to success, and help students stay on top of their school work as well as all other areas of their life.
To help your students develop their time management skills (which are especially helpful around exam periods), support you students in creating a digital timetable - either on a calendar app or on another application like Google Sheets - that they can access on their phone or laptop.
How to set up a timetable:
- First add the fixed items to their timetable: e.g. school, sleep, meals, travel.
- Next add in any extra-curricular or fun activities: e.g. sport, hobbies, socialising.
- Lastly, allocate time for study.
The aim is to help your student create a timetable that they actually want to stick to.
For 4-6 weeks after setting up the timetable, you can spend a few minutes each lesson comparing the student's planned timetable with reality. For example, perhaps your student planned a 3 hour study block on Monday but found they weren't productive after the first hour. In this case, they may change the time of that study block for the next week. By refining their timetable, students develop a better understanding of how to allocate their time and how efficiently they can work.
High-performers all started out as beginners, and it's through discipline that they achieved greatness and success. In order to develop discipline, we need clear goals and to understand our intrinsic motivation - WHY we want to move towards those goals. You can support your students in developing intrinsic motivation by helping them get clear on what their goals are (e.g. an ATAR of 95) and then WHY they want to achieve that those goals (e.g. to have more options around university courses).
Questions to ask your students when you first start working with them:
- What marks/ ATAR would you like to achieve at the end of this year?
- On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being super important and 1 being not very important at all, how important is it for you to get your goal marks / ATAR?
- Why is it a X out of 10 for you?
Once students are clear on their intrinsic motivation, they have their reason for continuing to take consistent action towards their goals.
High performers work hard on the right things. For example, re-reading notes over and over again is not a productive use of a student’s time. A student would be much more productive re-reading their notes using a combination of the scientific learning techniques already mentioned (e.g. retrieval practice).