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Every year a new crop of students face exams and arrive unprepared.
Would you send your son or daughter to play football without boots?
Would you attempt to drive a long journey without checking you had enough fuel? Yet thousands of students, some of whom you may know or know of,  are expected to study without the concentration and application to settle down and study.

Schools do their best and many students seem to just “get it” but my heart goes out to those bright young minds who are stumbling and falling by the wayside simply for the want of concentration. . You probably know at least one student who is struggling with concentration right now!

My interest is personal because I was once one of these kids. With un-diagnosed dyslexia and a range of other challenges I found studying very difficult and it was only when I was repeating the leaving certificate exams that I truly cracked the concentration code! I had to study for up to three times as long as others in my class due to my slow speed of learning and this meant that I had to develop techniques and strategies that would keep me focused for far longer than others in my class.

Now I make a point of working with students each year who are struggling to concentrate. That’s why I have put together the CONCENTRATION BOOT CAMP that I’m presenting in Leixlip on Saturday March 11th. This will be a great opportunity for struggling students to get the inside track on how to concentrate successfully.

I am living proof that my approach works – using the strategies and techniques that I developed along with activities drawn from the wide range of training and experience that I have gained, I qualified as a teacher and specialised in Learning Support. Later I completed my masters in with the Open University and scored in the top 10% of my class!  Now, many may have struggled and succeeded in studying for their exams but few have turned around and made a pathway that others can follow. I have made this a big part of my life over the years and will open the pathway for up to 30 struggling exam students in Leixlip on March 11h. Interested?

In one to one sessions with students, at courses and workshops I have presented my approach and now I’m r willing to share these simple but effective strategies, activities and information with 30 lucky students who will leave the boot camp with the skills and tools to settle down, concentrate and study successfully for their exams.

If a struggling exam student is given the right help now it will change the course of their life for good. Instead of just passing subjects( or worse) they will shine out and achieve their true potential in their exams and open doors to a different quality of life, better educational opportunities and a greater chance of financial security and personal happiness. Who wouldn’t want this for the exam students of today? That’s why this Concentration Boot Camp may be so important to them. Please share this information with their parents and teachers.

To you it may seem like an unusual approach, but for those that I have l have helped over the years my training in concentration, motivation and overcoming obstacles have made the difference between being the student described as being “ has great potential if he could only concentrate” and successfully achieving their true potential.

In my work I see immediate changes that are long lasting and I get more job satisfaction in a day now than I got in a year as a school teacher because passing on my my strategies, approach and activities to struggling exam, students sees them transformed from distracted, jumpy and disinterested to motivated, switched on learners who’s mind is clear, body is calm and potential is being reached.

To concentrate you need three things-
1. You must feel safe enough to allow you mind to place its attention on a topic rather than be preoccupied with keeping you safe
2. You must want to concentrate for a good enough reason that will deliver a meaningful reward to you
3. You must priotitise the time for study and give yourself a real chance to learn,

Only then do real learning, memory, analysis and other higher order skills come into play. In the Concentration Boot Camp I help struggling exam students to feel safe and secure inside because.it is this lack of security that has their attention permanently scanning their environment for signs of danger or possible threats to their security.

Usually we find that they experienced a shock or trauma that put them into a state of hyper-vigilance which unknown to themselves makes their eyes constantly scan about and be unable to stay on a topic or focus on a subject for more than a few seconds. Similarly with their listening. As the struggling exam student has unconsciously shifted their attention to hearing the sound of approaching danger they are tuned to hear these sounds rather than normal human speech and so they often drift off in class or when you are speaking to them. Once they are made to feel safe again and the effects of the shock, trauma or bullying have been erased using a few simple techniques that calm their body, still their mind and focus their attention, life and their participation in it change for good!

In a few moments, using my strategies, we see their pupils shrink from fully dilated to normal and from sluggish to contract in bright light to instantly the shoulders rise and fall with every responsive.

Then with a single activity lasting usually a minute their breathing changes from what I call “panic type breathing” where their shoulders rise and fall with every breath to normal diaphragmatic breathing which is “breathing like a relaxed baby” with no movement in their chest but their abdomen is expanding and contracting calmly and slowly with each breath. This kind of breathing maximises the oxygen flow in their thinking brain, facilitating concentration for extended periods of time.

Other activities and strategies reduce their adrenaline levels and as a result the tapping foot and ever moving fingers become still as their body quieten down and their adrenaline levels normalise.

You can’t force a student into deep concentration or the powerful learning that comes when they have internal motivation. To get the levels of internal motivation required to successfully study for exams means that the reward must be meaningful for them. They must want what it will bring. Unless they desire it strongly their motivation, application and interest will not be enough to help them persevere when the going gets tough. This is why I developed my SMARTER approach to setting goals and involve them in working out what they really want to achieve. Usually by the time I see them they have settled for a minimal result based on the teachers’ assessments and past exam results. Yet with a little guidance each of these struggling exam students is capable of so much more. I will never forget being told when my results were announced  “you did far better than we expected!”.

I was a struggling exam student and found ways to help myself and want to pass these on to every struggling exam student. Sadly, the hotel room in Leixlip will accommodate no more than 30 so I can only work with the first 30 struggling exam students who book tickets. So if you or someone you know is the parent or related to a struggling exam student please let them know about the Concentration Boot Camp. More info here….

 

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