Brain breakfast helps Year 11 identify what they do well and how to improve performance

Brain breakfast helps Year 11 identify what they do well and how to improve performance

7 February 2023

Mr Chris Kellaway, Director of Empowered Learning

Over breakfast on Tuesday 31 January, Year 11 students discussed with staff and their peers a piece of work they are proud of and one they are not. This was followed by a coaching session with a member of the Year 11 tutor team or a senior member of staff, with the aim of students identifying what they do well, and how they can apply this to things they might struggle with.  

In line with our coaching culture, staff guided the students to what they think they could do to improve performance, rather than telling them. Research shows that students (and adults) are more likely to adopt ideas they have suggested themselves, rather than ideas that are forced upon them (which can inspire rebellion!). This is at the heart of the empowered learning vision we have for Woldingham, where students are empowered to fulfil their academic potential.

Coaching questions asked included:

- What are you most proud of?

- What could have gone better?

- What is important to you about the work you do?

- What is stopping you succeeding?

The second half of the breakfast focused on aspirational questions, where staff encouraged students to think about their future, how to get there and how they can start to make their visions a reality.

Students answered questions such as:

- What is your dream?

- Where do you want to be in 5 / 10 / 15 years' time?

- What can you do now?

The idea is to link the present with the future, encouraging students to visualise where they want to be. This will ensure they focus on the present and the variety of opportunities Woldingham offers them.

At the end of the session, the students were given space to recap what they had learnt, with one or two spokespersons sharing each table's learnings with the rest of the group. These included:

Onome: Failure doesn’t mean you should give up, it just gives you an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

Sephora: If you truly love a subject, you will find time for it.

Athena: Don’t compare yourself to others, just do your best.

Kira: Discussion of my A Level options and future plans made me rethink some of my decisions, as I realised it is better to dedicate my studies to subjects I enjoy, rather than those that would be "useful" for university. 

The next brain breakfast is for Mardeners at the end of February, with Year 9 and 10 sessions to follow. More than 60 staff have been trained in coaching in the past two years and more than 30 students have had initial coaching training.

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