I tutor a year 5 boy.
His Mum wanted him to have some support for his learning in school but her bigger priority was in boosting his self-confidence in relation to his learning. She knows about my drive and passion in getting children considering their mindset in relation to learning and thought these ideas could help him to become a more confident learner.
I am designing our hour-long sessions together by weaving in some exploration of Mindset alongside the academic areas needing some support. One of the areas in terms of Mindset that we have discussed, as it has come up, is the receiving of feedback.
I have had about six sessions so far with Jack. I am so chuffed with the progress he has made in this time. One of the areas we are targeting is his handwriting. Today, he was so excited to tell me that, after 3 months of working towards it, he has achieved a long-awaited pen license at school. He was ecstatic to say the least.
It was important to explore with Jack WHY he thought he had finally achieved it because he has really focused and practised on some key areas in his handwriting. It was an amazing opportunity to link his feeling of elation to HOW he had got there and be really specific about it. We were also able to think about the mistakes he made along the way but how he hadn’t ignored them and used them as information to guide him how to improve.
I know, from having sat next to him whilst writing, that he is actively thinking about areas that we have discussed so he is still learning to make his learning more automatic. He now talks about receiving and listening to feedback. He uses that word with understanding and where he had once told me about feedback given by his teacher that made him feel disappointed, this notion of feeling ‘attacked’ and wanting to shut off from what was being said now seems to have shifted. A new way of regarding this feedback has emerged. Jack seems to be recognising more the value that feedback has for him. Today, when I asked him what he thought had got him his pen licence, he mentioned that part of it was listening to the feedback he was given and acting on it.
By simply opening up a discussion about what feedback is and what it isn’t, made him more receptive to the advice and progress was made more quickly than it might otherwise have been. The challenging part is that you can't just tell kids this so finding these diamond moments to explore these wins is really important. The positive feeling Jack was feeling was tied to the action he had taken and that should leave a footprint in his learning journey- a learning behaviour he is more likely to repeat in the future. A definite win of my day and I think Jack’s also! Well done Jack.