Better SATs Results

Simon Benn, March 2017
 
So where’s the silver bullet to improve results? Where’s the magic pill to stop pupils stressing over SATs? And if we’re being selfish for a moment how can we be at our best at this tricky time?
 
First the bad news, there’s no silver bullet.
 
Now the good news, there are three ways to improve SATs results and most teachers are focusing on just one.
 

1. Practice 

 
All those practice tests, need I say more? 
 
No.
 

2. Strengthen your pupils’ resilience

Most schools do this as a whole school approach or it’s embedded into the school ethos. But if you’ve always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. What could you do differently to improve your pupils’ resilience? Who could you ask for tips and strategies? What can you find on Google? What do the pupils understand about resilience? Who are their resilience role models? How do they think they could become more resilient? How could you turn a literacy lesson into a resilience lesson or just give it a resilience flavor? What resilience/confidence/mindfulness resources are there specifically aimed at SATs success?
 

3. Strengthen your own resilience

This is where all the power lies, your ultimate point of leverage. The stronger you are, the better environment you will create, the more the pupils will learn in class and relax into the tests. 
 
 And yet when I offer teachers tips on test technique they say yes, when I offer them their own stress-busting tips they pass. 
 
What’s that all about?
 
For me, I think was about fear. I didn’t want to admit to not being able to handle the stress.  Also I thought I had it under control and was so used to living with it that stress was a way of life. I woke up at 4am thinking about what I was going to do the following day to improve results. What was stress got disguised as just thinking.
 
But you’re still looking for answers right?
 
Well it’s in what I was just talking about. It’s in our heads. 
 
So do what makes you feel good, what helps you relax, what inspires you, what takes your mind of SATs. 
 
Because I’ve got a question for you.
 
How stressful are SATs when you’re not thinking about them? 
 
They’re not stressful AT ALL.
 
So why is that?
 
When you’re not thinking about SATs, they don’t stress you.
 
Because our feelings come from our thoughts. 
 
Stop and think about that for that for a moment. 
 
It’s big. 
 
Very big.
 
I was talking to a head teacher about this the other day and she helped me to see this from her perspective. I hope that perspective will help you.
 
Last Sunday morning, she was having a quiet coffee before the rest of the family got up and in that moment, she hadn’t a care in the world. Then the newspaper hit the doormat with a thud: she went to the front door to pick it up, and saw a headline about schools. She was immediately transported back to a world of stress.
 
Most teachers feel powerless because they think their stress is coming from SATs and we seem to be stuck with them.
 
Most people think they are powerless because they think their feelings are coming from the outside world. They have to change their world to change how they feel. That’s our culture – buy this and feel happy. Scrap SATs and stop stress.
 
Our feelings are only ever coming from our thinking in the moment. We have 70,000 thoughts a day so it’s clear that thoughts are fleeting. It’s unrealistic to think that all our thoughts will be positive. However it’s totally illogical to believe that we would choose to think a negative thought. Why on earth would we choose to think bad thoughts?
 
We don’t. 
 
We only think bad thoughts because we’re stuck in old, engrained bad thoughts from the past. Some rubbish we picked up along the way that isn’t true. I’m not good enough. I should have done better.
That voice that’s in your head lying to you right now.
 
Our thinking isn’t our fault. Let yourself off the hook because you’re NOT getting in your own way. We can’t turn that voice off, all we can do is stop listening to it. Stop taking our thinking so seriously. It’s just a thought and a new thought is just a second away.
 
The biggest insight in my life was listening to an audiobook on this subject hurtling along the outside lane of the M1 at 80mph. The author said “And then I realised that my head was full of absolute crap.” I had to pull off the motorway to laugh for 15 minutes outside Costa because I realised that my head was full of that too.
 
When we realise it’s just thought we have less on our minds
 
And with less on our minds we can do what needs to be done to improve our pupils’ SATs results.
 
All this stuff is a LOT easier for children as they have less old thinking. Our Jack Cherry resources are a silver bullet for pupils’ resilience so you can improve their results www.jackcherry.com

Keen Kite

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