Senior School Student Support

How to Optimise Motivation, Wellbeing and Performance

Coaching4Schools is a well-established online cognitive behavioural coaching service for academic purposes, created a video series for Dulwich College International about how students can optimise their motivation, wellbeing and performance.

The four-part series includes:

  • Mindset Self-Coaching: Building Daily Habits that Improve Performance and Prevent Procrastination
  • Personal Goal Setting: Using the GROW Model to Set Effective Study Goals 
  • Developing Key Strengths and Stopping Self-Doubt: Your Unique Strengths and the Importance of Self-Gratitude
  • Growth Mindset Thinking: Improving Your Effort, Dispelling Myths and Managing Setbacks

Five Beneficial Things to Do During Study Breaks

After a long period of online studying at home, it can be difficult to avoid slipping into social media scrolling during study breaks. Though it’s nice to see what’s happening on Instagram, consider putting down that phone and trying out some other positive ways to spend your breaks. Here are five suggestions:

Five Beneficial Things to Do During Study Breaks 

5 Top Tips to Maximise Learning in an Online Environment

Moving from an on-campus education to a 100 per cent online learning environment can take some adjustment. It involves new platforms, new ways of working, a new schedule and a completely new working environment. There are some key strategies that can be put in place from the start to manage the transition and create positive momentum.

1. Build self-care time into your daily schedule

When planning your daily schedule, make sure to allocate time throughout the day to conduct activities that will help you step away from school work. It is very easy to build your schedule and fill it with task after task. The brain, body and soul all need some time for themselves. Nothing beats starting the day right with a hearty breakfast, your favourite smelling shampoo and brushing your teeth. Throughout the day take some time to step away from work. Allocating break times are just as important as time spent in ‘flow’.

2. If you find your ‘flow’ don’t abandon it…

Have you ever found yourself completely immersed in an activity? Time seems to fade away and you are living in the moment. If you are in that euphoric state of complete flow, then don’t abandon it. Continue until you hit an obstacle and then take a well-deserved break. The creativity you experience during that flow will be what determines your success.

3. Avoid social media at all costs!

While you are on a task, avoid social media at all costs. It might be very tempting to check on a news update or make a quick reply on WeChat, but that pulls you out of flow. This means you have to go through another period of continuous focus to re-enter the flow state. Click in and out of your work enough times, and you can go through an entire day without experiencing flow.

4. Exercise isn’t just important – it’s essential

For those of us stuck indoors, this component of well-being is even more important, relevant and an absolute must. Although outdoor activities are not strongly recommended in some regions during the current health crisis, we must ensure blood flow remains constant in our daily schedule. Activities like an indoor walking routine, muscle building exercises, yoga and high-intensity cardio exercises are some options to consider. 

The science behind it all? Firstly, in addition to priming the state of mind (studies show that children learn better immediately following exercise), exercise also influences learning directly (and permanently) at the cellular level. Exercise stimulates the production of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), the master molecule of the learning process, which increases learning by stimulating neuron growth. Rates of learning correlate positively with enhanced levels of BDNF.

5. Crave feedback and conduct feedforward

Feedback: Receiving and acting on feedback is crucial to the learning process. Teachers should initiate feedback, but you are 50 per cent of the communication chain - so be proactive. If your teachers have not done so, ask them if there can be an agreed timeline with receiving feedback. This way, you will know when to expect it. Your teachers will want you to be a part of this online learning journey just as much as them, so ensure that you are proactive. 

Feedforward: It is all good and well dwelling on the past but looking at how you will better improve on your learning is just as important. Look ahead to subsequent assessments and put plans into action so that you focus on development in the future. 

While you can always add more to the list, these five tips help to form a solid foundation to enable a smoother and more productive shift to online learning. It will be useful to regularly review your list of tips to assess if additional strategies need to be put in place as you find out more about how you are responding to the online learning environment. 

Stephen Hurworth
Head of Key Stage 5 and Teacher of PE
Dulwich College Beijing