The Power of Perspective in Improving Marks and ATAR Exam Performance

It’s 1990 and I received a call from a deputy principal about a serious problem with playground behaviour. His description included references to detention rooms filling up and teachers becoming increasingly frustrated. What he wanted was a third party to observe the behaviour in question and then support his staff in creating positive change.

A few days later and after some pleasantries with the deputy, I ventured out into the playground.

I did a few rounds of the grounds, played some kick to kick on the oval and got completely hustled on the four-square court. Although it was an enjoyable time I was growing increasingly nervous. Going by the deputy’s description, I simply had to be missing something. All I saw was kids being kids. Yes, there was running instead of walking, arguing over game rules and some boundary breaking BUT there was also co-operative play, keeping within the boundaries, sharing and taking turn.

I saw two choices. Directly confront the school over their view of the situation or accept it and pitch the power of positive reinforcement.  I chose the latter.

I worked with the teachers to design a management program based on replacing detention slips with Gold tokens. The idea was to stop teachers looking for kids breaking the rules (and dispensing detention slips) and instead have them look for kids demonstrating desired behaviour (to hand out Gold tokens). I reviewed the theory with the staff, helped them document the program, led them through some modelling and role playing, confirmed the date for my next visit – and left.

A few weeks later I sat down with the deputy feeling slightly apprehensive about the outcomes he’d report. I felt even worse when he told me the program had caused significant change and, in some cases, a complete turnaround in behaviour. Whilst this was far from my first behaviour management program, it was my first complete turnaround – and in only a few weeks!

This was something I had to see this for myself.

Hitting the playground, it didn’t take me long to realise very little about the kid’s behaviour had changed. These were the same kids in the same playground doing the same things I’d observed a few weeks prior. In fact, only one thing had changed, and it was the teachers’ perspective. Instead of looking for inappropriate behaviour, they were now looking for good behaviour and, what it is you look for you very often find!

My mind reeled: Apart from a shift in the teachers’ perspective nothing had changed and yet the teachers reported significant change in the kids’ behaviour.  What kind of voodoo was this?

Not voodoo at all as it turns out, just a practical demonstration of the power of perspective. In subtle yet profound ways, your perspective influences every aspect of your life. For the teachers in the playground, changing what they looked for, changed what they found.

Like it or not, your perspective influences every aspect of your life. Why not use this to your advantage? Look for the good in people and in situations. View life’s challenges as hurdles to overcome, not roadblocks that derail you.

The power of perspective also influences how students approach their studies and exams. This why The Exam Expert’s programs are not just about revising content. We also help reframe students’ perspectives to create significant changes in their confidence.

All our programs are designed to help students succeed and to develop the longer-term habits of success. We recognise that every student has different needs. We meet these needs through a combination of diverse programs all delivered by highly-qualified teachers who understand; when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Don’t let your perspective be based on negative experiences and opinions. Let The Exam Experts help you develop confidence in your capabilities because – you always have a choice. Even a school playground can teach you an important life lesson: Life is about perspective and it never hurts to zoom out.

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