“Great minds have purpose; others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.” Washington Irving

Purpose is the theme this week and ties in nicely with the end of term and the upcoming external exams. What do you want to achieve? Good question and needs always to be the starting point as that is the “wish” from the quotation. Some people choose to leave it there and don’t then go on and make those wishes a reality which Irving calls being “tamed and subdued.”

I have blogged before about resilience and perseverance; purpose in this context is kind of the same thing. It is about having that dogged determination, that inner drive and that refusal to give up with a goal in sight and not letting setbacks get you down.

I heard a very interesting story a few years ago about 100 students from Harvard who were asked what they wanted to achieve in life. Out of the 100, 3 wrote down what they wanted to achieve and the other 97 thought about it and talked about it but did not commit anything to paper. Ten years later, the same group of people was brought together and the 3 who had written down their desires were worth more than the other 97 put together.

Now it may well be an anecdote, an exaggeration or nothing but the truth. The point is, however, that writing things down often makes them real. Spoken words may be ephemeral, but the written word is there, is concrete and can be referenced.

So how does this relate to exams? Rather nicely, I think. I often ask students to imagine that it is results day and they are opening the email or the envelope containing their results. What do you want to see? How will you feel if it is 3 As? How will you feel if it is 3 Es? How can you make the 1st one happen and avoid the 2nd? What actions can you take to ensure success? Etc… I always tell students to write a revision timetable, write mnemonics, write bullet points, write mind maps etc…I know some will and some won’t; I also know which ones will be tamed and subdued…The forthcoming break is an excellent time for revision and work for the Year 11 and Year 13 students and a time to focus on purpose rather than wishes.

It’s the end of another busy term. Along with the Year 13 students, next term will be my last one at Padworth.  Have a restful holiday

Best wishes

Chris