The Student Mindset

A 30-item toolkit for anyone learning anything

By: Steve Oakes , Martin Griffin

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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 210 x 148mm
Pages : 160
ISBN : 9781785833083
Format: Paperback
Published: December 2018

In The Student Mindset: A 30-item toolkit for anyone learning anything, Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin provide clear, effective and engaging tools designed to help students plan, organise and execute successful learning.

Successful students find a way to succeed. They get the results they want. And they achieve this not by superior ability, but by sticking to habits, routines and strategies that deliver those results.

By cutting through the noise surrounding academic success and character development, bestselling authors Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin have identified the five key traits and behaviours that all students need in order to achieve their goals: vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude (VESPA).

These characteristics beat cognition hands down, and in The Student Mindset Steve and Martin provide a ready-made series of study strategies, approaches and tactics designed to nurture these qualities and transform your motivation, commitment and productivity.

The book’s thirty activities, while categorised thematically under the VESPA umbrella, have been organised around six key phases of learning so that you can recognise which phase you’re in before choosing from the range of tools and techniques to help you get through it. The six co-existing key phases are: preparation; starting study; collecting and shaping; adapting, testing and performing; flow and feedback; and dealing with the dip. At each phase you’ll experience challenges and discover new ways of working, and this book’s activities have been designed to help you gain control and become a better learner by sharing workload management tactics and revision strategies associated with calm, purposeful study and – ultimately – getting good results. These tools include a range of effective prioritisation, stress reduction, procrastination-busting and mindset development approaches – all neatly packaged into this outstanding practical guide to becoming a successful and confident student.

Suitable for all students.

Contents include:

Chapter 1. Preparation

Chapter 2. Starting Study

Chapter 3. Collecting and Shaping

Chapter 4. Adapting, Testing and Performing

Chapter 5. Flow and Feedback

Chapter 6. Dealing with the Dip

Shortlisted for the Non Obvious Book Award.

Picture for author Steve Oakes

Steve Oakes

Steve Oakes has over 20 years' of experience as a teacher and leader, and has been a Head of Sixth Form at two successful schools in the UK and the UAE. As a current Head of Sixth Form, he works closely with students to maximise levels of engagement and commitment, designing high-impact interventions and practical tools for improving academic performance.

Picture for author Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin has over 20 years’ experience teaching and coaching post-16 students. He was a Head of Sixth Form and Deputy Head at a successful comprehensive school for eight years, and has worked with hundreds of schools and colleges in the UK and beyond to design and implement study skills, character development and mindset programmes. 



  1. In The Student Mindset, Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin have marshalled their wealth of experience and hard-hitting research in order to devise an ingenious method of analysing the learner and dissecting the learning process.

    Oakes and Griffin focus on the learner's core competencies in terms of their vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude (VESPA), and the essence of this book details thirty stimulating and vibrant tasks for the learner based around these traits. The activities allow the learner to take responsibility for their own learning journey and to set their sights on success by acknowledging the ups and downs of the learning process with a view to overcoming the downturns from an intuitive and intellectual standpoint.

    The Student Mindset provides the teacher or tutor with strategies to help learners surmount obstacles to learning by considering methods of preparation, initial starting point for study, information-gathering techniques, performance-testing methodologies and feedback processes. The reader, consequently, will be furnished with a step-by-step approach which cannot fail to enlighten both learner and educator alike.

    The Student Mindset thus is a fascinating and refreshing treatise which provides valuable insights into the learning process and can set the learner on a trajectory bound for success. This work will be an essential vade mecum for the dedicated educator because it brightens the much-sought-after light at the end of the learning tunnel.
  2. The Student Mindset by Steve Oakes and Martin Griffin explains their findings from extensive research into the best qualities of high performing learners throughout their journeys to success.

    This book is an effective guide to help plan and execute successful learning. The authors believe that there are five key traits and behaviours that students need to master in order to make their education a success. These five traits vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude need to work in sync to beat the challenges of studying.

    Each of the five characteristics have separate parts in the book containing clear analysis of current theories based in education at the moment. Steve and Martin have used many studies to come to their conclusions during the production of this book that takes anyone through the six section sequence when exploring a new course, topic or subject. It enhances the need for learners to prepare for learning by producing their own manifesto of intent and committing to it to set them on the right path towards a successful experience and avoid the fear of failure. This being a valid point as many students that I teach in Dorset struggle with their own confidence and it can hinder their achievements. Breaking the cycle of negative thoughts will help them to see the future by using the guiding questions in the book to see the signs that lead them to believing that they can achieve whatever they choose with the correct mindset.

    Each chapter in the book addresses different ways to help students to retain and understand the vast amount of knowledge they have to take on in a day at school using strategies that could suit any of the unique learners within the educational environment that they attend.

    This book would help any educators to think about and evaluate their own teaching pedagogy and adapt it to the needs of their classes so that they can make the intended progress that they need to. It will give ideas to staff who want to make sure that all their pupils can access the curriculum and remember the learning that has taken place to use at a later date in their assessments.

    I would recommend this book to any member of staff that might need a refreshing look at other techniques and strategies to help any of the learners that they see on a weekly basis in their schools and also the sections on revision techniques and how to retain all the knowledge would be extremely beneficial to those taking any examinations in the not so distant future. I especially like the connections to the current theories in education and how this book fits in with them.

    I believe that this book could also help anyone trying to learn anything no matter how old they are, the techniques and strategies are valid whether you are a sixteen-year-old about to sit GCSEs or a mature student revisiting your education at sixty years young.


    - Students battle through difficult times and this acknowledges there are many ways to address the issues facing young people today in education.
    - A vast variety of methods to help struggling learners to combat their difficulties and succeed.
    - Separate chapters to describe the five characteristics of successful learners can guide anyone learning anything to become a high performing student.
    - Clearly, teacher shortage will damage the students and it is about time someone highlighted the issue that no one will acknowledge.
    - This book could also help anyone trying to learn anything no matter how old they are.
  3. This is a truly brilliant text, overflowing with tricks and tactics which will enable learners to boost to boost their performance levels by adopting the routines, strategies and habits of those who have succeeded or who currently do well.

    The authors have extensive experience of working with students who battle through difficult times, those who become exasperated, demotivated and others who are successful. The focus in the book is on the characteristics and qualities of high performing students, in particular their vision, effort, systems, practice and attitude (VESPA)

    Readers will gain from the section on promoting the mindset which the authors link to the key area of preparation and starting with the key question, -˜what does success look like?'. Another focus is on the analysis of how the student can arrange and organise information more effectively.  They consider a range   of graphic organisers and the use of metaphor analysis.  In addition they discuss  -˜battling information overwhelm', -˜dealing with the dip' and strategies to promote activities to drive forward changes in attitude, generate energy and renewed effort.   In view of the current focus on mental health and stress related illness, the authors discuss the moments of personal crisis which can impact upon many students, with strategies on sleep, diet and exercise to ensure more effective functioning of the body systems which can positively impact upon performance and attitude.

    This is a well-written and engaging text that should be available within all schools and colleges to aid learners to promote more effective habits, routines and strategies in their quest to promote achievement levels

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