In my last few posts I have given hints and tips to help you get closer towards your goal. For me, I am trying hard to help my students get where they want to be in their HSC Music exams.

The last few weeks have been an interesting journey. I have had students avoid me, upset parents contact me, and very little progress has been made by all. Now I am not the type of person to sit back and let it all just happen—that frustrates me to no end!!! I need to be doing something, anything, to get where I need to be; so when my students choose a different path to their goal, I struggle.

So in an effort to help my students get past their own personal road blocks, as well as my own, I had a very different lesson last Friday. All week, prior to this lesson, I talked with colleagues, shed a few tears, and thought through many different scenarios in my head about what to do.

One idea was to go in to my lesson and “blast” my students about their lack of progress. I should tell you that they had all been given a deadline of one new piece for their HSC Exam, last Wednesday. In this lesson, both myself and my colleague sat back and asked each of them to perform their new piece. Out of my 9 students, only ONE had a new piece learned and to a standard that we could work on together to progress it further. I was not impressed! I walked away from that lesson very disheartened, and wondering what else I could do to help. As I said, I discussed with my colleagues about this particular lesson, and they too were at a loss about where to go from here.

So after a couple of sleepless nights, and as I said, a few tears of frustration, I came up with a plan.

I knew that if I did get rather cranky, it might me feel better for that moment, but really, no one would be the winner; so that idea came and went. Searching for ideas I hunted through my collection of professional development books until I found a few that I had used years earlier.

One book, about ELLI—Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory jumped out at me. I had used this book in so many ways, and in so many different circumstances. Below are a few pages that I use in the Gifted and Talented Projects with my students. The whole idea is that students gain an awareness of their own learning strengths and weaknesses. I explain this along with a PowerPoint presentation that I found on the internet a few years ago. I tried to find the link for you, but couldn’t find it 🙁 BUT there are heaps of  resources out there, one being the YouTube link below.

Link here to ELLI YouTube

Here are a few pages explaining ELLI, just a little!

ellie 1

ellie 2

ellie 3

Once we had completed this little survey/diagram, it was time to move on to some more complex ideas to removing the roadblocks.

Again, I searched my old resources, and remembered about the David Langford tools I had previously used with great success. Together as a class we completed a Bone Diagram.

See the picture below, I apologise for my terrible writing, but you get the idea of what we as a class came up with about what we have, what we want and what will stop us.


Here is a link to the Langford site, it has heaps of resources and information for you to use. It is really worth a visit!

Link to Langford site here

After answering these three questions, it was time to get to the bottom of the problem using the Inter-Relationship diagram.  In this process you need to decide on the biggest road blocks to your success. For my class we had the following list

  1. Fatigue
  2. Distraction
  3. Motivation
  4. External Influences
  5. Other Subjects
  6. Commitments

In this part of the lesson, we discussed what influenced what. In other words, did fatigue effect distractions, or did distractions effect fatigue? Once there is an answer either way, you draw an arrow going in the direction of the effect. You need to go through this logically and look at each part and how they effect each other. Once you have finished this process you count the number of arrows going in and out. This then gives a really clear picture of what is really effecting what!!! And it is usually an eye opener and a really good path into a very real conversation about what you can and cannot control.


As a class we decided that the only thing that we could control was the distractions—what kept us from doing what we should be doing. For each student this was something different. It meant that each of us had an understanding of where to go from here and what they should be doing in order to reach their ultimate goals.

This whole process was done in less than an hour, with 9 very different students, all with what they thought were unique problems.

I had this same class this afternoon, and they came in with a very different attitude! I now feel, at this moment, that we are actually moving forward and have started moving those road blocks to learning out the way.

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Have a great one, and

Happy Teaching

Julia from Jooya


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