• Engagesmca


Research and Development Project - Blog 1. Developing Mental Toughness


The Process

Through my own research, it has become clear to me that there are strategies that can be put in place to help those around us who are less mentally resilient. The Blackpool Challenge document outlines that it wants 100% of their learners to be ‘resilient’ and ‘achieve their potential’. Some children in our community struggle with the idea of resilience and therefore do not achieve their full potential. I fully believe that this state of mind can be altered by undoing some of the habits they have created and improving their self-belief. The course that I have been part of aimed to being to unpick the reasons as to why they felt that they could not achieve as well as others and to taught them some strategies to disprove the ideas of themselves. 

I would like to use coaching strategies and the GROW model to see if the pupils in the participating form groups develop more mental toughness as a result of weekly goal setting. I would be interested to see if this affects different sub-groups within the form differently to others.

The MTQ48 outlines that attributes of mentally tough people are:

• Sociable and outgoing;

• Being able to remain calm and relaxed, they are competitive in many situations and have lower anxiety levels than others.

• With a high sense of self-belief and an unshakeable faith that they control their own destiny, these individuals can remain relatively unaffected by competition or adversity.

All pupils will be given a Form Coaching Pack which will include:

  • A copy of their latest report.
  • The Coaching Wheel (three copies to be completed termly)
  • Goal forms using the GROW model (to be completed weekly during form coaching sessions)

During a weekly form period, all pupils will use the GROW model to set themselves a weekly goal and to review their success of their last goal. They will think of a goal that they feel they need to work on for that week. This could be something like ‘to complete my English homework and submit it on the deadline’. They will then assess their current ‘reality’. In this section, the teacher will ask the pupil what is currently happening to stop them doing whatever it is they feel they need to work on. The teacher may also ask them if there are any obstacles that may be in their way to hinder them from achieving this goal. They then need to consider the options available to them and ensure that they choose the right option to help them achieve this goal. They will then commit to this idea – in this section of the form they may write down, for example, what night of the week they are going to do their homework or ask their form tutor to remind the pupil to do their homework until the form tutor has seen the piece of homework. This is the final part of the GROW model where pupils decide what they will do to achieve their goal.

While the pupils are completing these goals, teachers should circulate and read the goals set by the pupils. All of these ideas must be generated by the pupil. During these sessions, the teacher must only ask questions and let the pupil formulate their decisions for themselves as a result of the teacher’s questions. The teacher should aim to have a short conversation with every pupil in the 20 minute form slot allocated to goal setting.

Some pupils may find that setting themselves a target is quite difficult. In which case, the teacher may ask the pupil if they would like to see their B4L data from the previous week to see if this generates any ideas for a goal for the pupil. In addition to this, there will be a list of questions in the tutee packs for pupils to think about if they are struggling for a target. The target could also be associated with the social aspects of school such as attending a new club or making a new friend.

I am looking forward to trying this process out with my form to see if target setting will have an overall impact on their mental toughness.