Telstra Small Business of the Year!
We were lucky enough to be awarded Telstra Small Business of the year (NSW) at the Telstra Business Awards 2014.Like
Umedha’s probably like a lot of students you teach.
She’s hard-working, and would be classed as your traditional ‘good student’ - especially at the start of the academic year.
But two or three weeks in, the novelty of a new school year starts to wear off, and with it the motivation to stay on top of the workload.
And when the workload starts to get too much, everything else starts to fall apart too: lowered confidence, lowered enthusiasm, lowered test results. Which all serve to keep motivation levels at rock bottom.
Umedha would deal with poor test results in the only way it seemed fit to – by pretending not to be phased by them. But the general blasé attitude that ‘it’ll be fine’ only covered up her anxiety towards study, which came back twice as hard at the next assessment. And then the next one. Until the year ended in the same way as every one before it; with the declaration that I’ll be better next year.
And so the cycle continues.
It certainly did to us.
Welcome to the first of our ‘Student Makeover’ series.
In this series, we’ve documented our journeys with students we’ve coached and mentored over a period of a few weeks. We started by ‘diagnosing’ the core study areas we believe students need the most help in, before equipping them with the skills they need to overcome their biggest obstacles with school. Finally, we check back in with them to see the impact Elevate’s study skills provision has had on their approach to their learning.
This is process we underwent with Umedha.
In this video, we asked Umedha (and her mum!) what her main concerns were when it came to school, how she approached study on a day-to-day basis, and how she’d rate her own performance before Elevate’s makeover. Here are her (and her mum’s) responses:
How would you rate your approach to study before Elevate’s sessions?As you can see, the core areas Umedha knew she needed to fix were:
So that’s exactly what we set out to do.
We paired Umedha up with one of our Elevate coaches, Ananya, who met with Umedha to better understand the core areas she needed the most help in:
“My first impression was that Umedha and her family were super excited for some guidance in both of their lives about how to genuinely approach school in a holistic manner. Umedha seemed to not have a lot of confidence in herself at the beginning which inherently impacted her approach to all her subjects. She had quite a fixed mindset and didn’t have clear foundational skills to help with time management, exam preparation or note taking.”
Based on this, Ananya put together a program focusing on the core foundational pillars of effective study:
This ensured Umedha was set-up with a good foundational knowledge of why she was studying in the first place. What was it all for? What was she hoping to achieve? And how can she get there? Without this – without a driving purpose behind studying – it’s easy to see why Umedha’s approach to study was poor, and why motivation waned after the first few weeks. To top it off, some time would be spent on the concept of growth mindset to build Umedha’s resilience towards her test results.
Once we’ve got the ‘why’ sorted, we next move on to the ‘how’ – and the best place to start here is by answering the question ‘how can I find the time to get stuff done?’. A student can’t be expected to improve in their study if they’re not finding the time to actually sit down and get the work done (you’ll also have seen this was a constant area of battle between Umedha and her mum – one that we knew we could fix).
The final piece in the puzzle to help tie everything together was in equipping Umedha with the skills to work efficiently and effectively when she sat down at her desk. All the prior work would have been pointless if Umedha simply spent 2 hours a day on re-writing and re-reading revision notes. So Ananya put together a series of sessions focusing on effective note taking, mind-mapping, practice papers and, above all, fixing the past mistakes from previous assessments. To tackle the ‘it’ll be fine’ mentality, we gave Umedha a system (seen most commonly in our ‘Ace Your Exams’ and ‘Finishing Line’ seminars) wherein she tackles her test scores head-on – and has the confidence to do so because of the previous sessions on motivation, resilience and growth mindset.
Once the program was in place, Ananya walked Umedha through each module. In this video, we break down a little more about the process, what it entails and what’s covered, and we ask how it was for Umedha going through the program:
What did the Elevate program look like for you?So that brings us to the next question: What was the impact?
To help ascertain this, we first asked Ananya to document any instant changes she was seeing as the program unfolded. Below are some excerpts from her observations:
Within the mindset element in particular, her outlook towards school and her whole perspective around her own ability and motivation changed completely. She began to see the value in consistently putting in time and effort and how this is the key for achieving the long term results she is striving towards.
Once we worked out how to create and implement a timetable that worked for Umedha, she felt much more in control. We also developed several other smaller systems to help her keep accountable and ensure she had good oversight. Because of this, her outlook about what was possible to achieve each week changed for the better and she had much more direction.
The note taking module in combination with the processing information session was super beneficial for Umedha as it has given her and her family clarity on what note taking genuinely is. Note taking was a skill that was slightly scary and unknown when we first began as she believed it was a lengthy, tiring, and tedious process. However, now she can understand how valuable and easy it can be!
And while this all sounds like great news, we all know that the best way to see impact in a student isn’t by asking the teacher how they thought they’ve done. – it’s to ask the student themselves!
So that’s what we did. In this video, we asked Umedha (and her mum!) if she’s seen any changes in her approach to school since going through the Elevate program:
Have you seen any changes in your study since going through the program?At Elevate, we firmly believe that in order for a student to succeed in school (and beyond), they need to be equipped with the skills to do so. We’ve seen first-hand (and now so have you) the impact of giving students the ability to independently study, manage their time, and effectively prepare for upcoming assessments.
Which is why we focus relentlessly, year after year, on giving as many students these skills as we possibly can. And it’s also why all of our advice, tips and programs are steeped heavily in 20+ years of research in the field.
And we also believe that equally as important as the message, is the messenger. Which is why our Elevate coaches are always top performers in their field – they’ve faced and aced their own school careers recently, so know exactly what the students are going through. And even better than that, they’re always engaging, dynamic and are easy to relate to – which is why the message gets through.
Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be continuing our ‘Student Makeover’ series with more students facing obstacles in their study, and we’ll continue to document and share their experiences with you. For now though, we’ll end with this video – we asked Ananya and Umedha (and her mum!) what advice they’d give to a student who’s currently struggling in school:
What advice would you give to a student who’s struggling with their study right now?