KICK START for Students Cathy Theaker Counsellor, Coach, Supervisor, TrainerStudent Counselling Service, Leeds Metropolitan University This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
What is Kick Start?• Kick Start is a Task-Focused Approach that works directly with academic performance and is suitable for students who have exhausted the resources available within Faculties or from other service providers.• It has a unique relevance to the academic setting and is congruent with the University’s Strategic Plan and Student Retention Objectives.
• Kick Start clients are likely to be students who would benefit from more individualised, intensive interventions at a point where they feel they have run out of other options and feel they do not have the personal resources of more confident peers.• Kick Start works to raise self awareness, self belief, confidence, motivation, personal responsibility, thereby improving performance & achievement.
Theoretical Approaches used by Kick Start team:• Glasser’s Reality Therapy – ( a cognitive behavioural approach) - focus on behaviour change & what is within our control. Uses reinforcement, modelling, feedback, trial & error.• CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) – a collaborative relationship, using Socratic questioning to generate problem solving strategies. Identifying and challenging self limiting beliefs.• Solution focused approach – use of miracle questions / incisive questions. Identifying preferred scenario & actions to achieve this.• NLP techniques – visualising successful performance (eg. In a presentation or exam)• GROW model (goal, reality, options, what/who/when)
Stages of intervention:• Pre- Kick Start questionnaire• Inventory of tasks• Prioritising & goal setting• Explore inner game• Weekly contract• Self help sheets• Final session - Post – Kick Start questionnaire & evaluation form
MANAGING MY ACADEMIC WORK PRE & POST KICK START QUESTIONNAIRE• I am feeling stuckStrongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree• I am focused in my workStrongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree• I feel helpless about my workStrongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree• My energy levels are good Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree
Common themes emerging from the initial questionnaires:• Not achieving goals• Considering leaving course• Feeling de-motivated• Feeling overwhelmed by amount of work to do• Fear of failure• Time management problems• Distractions• Procrastination
• Fear/threat/anxiety physically & chemically shut down the brain’s capacity to learn, forcing fight/flight behaviours• Kick Start provides psychological safety mixed with challenges to build self esteem & self belief
Writing the InventoryList all the work that needs to be done:For Example:• Number of Assignments?• Type of Assignment?• No. of words per Assignment?• Due Date for each Assignment?• What has been done already?
PrioritisingFor Example:• What is easiest?• What is urgent?• What is realistic?• Is time-management an issue?
Establishing the Weekly ContractList the individual tasks to be undertakenbefore next meetingEg.• Gather evidence for case study• Meet my dissertation supervisor• Write 1,000 words on my literature review• Meet with group re: setting tasks for group presentation
Time management issues?Formulate a Timetable…For Example:• See the tasks as the ‘job’• Build in regular breaks with refreshing (not diversionary) activities• Build in rewards at the end of each day• Keep a work/life balance• Explore inner game
Making an Ending• affirming the successes already achieved• emphasising the control they already have• acknowledging the importance of their effort• recognising the value of the relationship
Transcultural Scenarios• A Chinese student, very isolated, suffering with anxiety/depression, falling behind with her assignments & dissertation. Confidence knocked following critical feedback on her previous semester assignments – feels shamed. Needs to integrate critical evaluation into her essays.• An Indian student in his final year, recently bereaved so now has responsibilities as head of his family, struggling to balance study/work/family responsibilities. Struggling with distractions through social networking sites etc.
Transcultural considerations:• Ethnocentric bias of psychotherapeutic frameworks that are adapted for coaching – emphasis on individualism & independence• Power dynamics – role power, personal power, cultural power (Ryde, 2011)• Preference for more directive style among some Asian, Japanese & Black students (need to clarify roles & expectations)• Non-assertion, avoidance, saving face to avoid bringing shame on self and family among some Chinese students (Ridley, 1995)
Acculturation process into HE:• Bicultural competence – students facing conflicting values & demands of 2 worlds (own communities & dominant white society)• Afrocentric – present focus…………Eurocentric – future focus (Ridley, 1995:116; Stevenson & Alidu)• Autonomous/independence...............................Collectivist/ interdependence• Self directed learner.......................Teacher as ‘expert’ - student uncomfortable with critical evaluation• Responses to feedback - criticism perceived personally (shame)• Lack of admission of feelings & problems –’everything’s OK’, even when it isn’t (Stevenson & Alidu)• Reliance on self – not asking for help (Stevenson & Alidu)
Transcultural coaching:• Awareness of our own and the student’s cultural values / assumptions / perspectives / attitudes to learning and how these may hold us back. Be alert to any mismatch and explore in supervision - and with the student if relevant to their learning experience.• Be aware that our own cultural values, assumptions, background may potentially inhibit our effectiveness with a coachee (Rosinski & Abbott, 2006)• We need to adapt our approach to fit the learner culturally. We need to question our own assumptions – guard against our culture blindness, prejudices (Flaherty, 1999)• Be aware of cultural transference (what the coachee transfers on to the coach, based on their experiences with other members of the racial group) (Ridley, 1995)• Be aware of cultural countertransference (the emotional reactions of the coach when working with the coachee) & take to supervision (Ridley, 1995)
2011/12• 170 Kick Start sessions provided (30-50mins, weekly or fortnightly depending on need)• 24 students were seen: 14 were final year, 5 were second year, 3 were first year, 2 were on MA courses.• 10 female, 14 male• 22 home students- mixed ethnicity• 2 international students• 4 students with a disability• 23 full time students, 1 part timeIn most of these cases therapeutic counselling also took place, either before Kick Startbegan or alongside Kick Start sessions.
Student feedback:• “Can’t thank you enough for your help and support over the last few weeks. I think our sessions were really helpful. Thanks again, I’m really glad I used the service.”• “Was helpful in self-disciplining and target/goal setting.”• “Really glad I attended, the sessions have really boosted myself and academic confidence, wish I’d come 3 years’ ago. Thank you.”• “I think that this is a really good service. It’s nice to talk to someone who can look at your work from a different angle.”
• “I feel that the written contract is really helpful, as I am able to achieve my goals each week.”• “The experience and understanding of the facilitator – very approachable and lots of helpful and practical tips.”• “Writing a list of things to do helped organise and prioritise my studying and time better.”• “Very friendly, caring and approachable facilitator and my ‘rock’ of support academically and mentally.”• “Thank you for producing the Kick Start programmes. It has helped me immensely and Janie has got me through my first year in a demanding degree.”
References:• Flaherty, J. 1999 cited in Passmore, J. (Ed) Excellence in Coaching. Association for Coaching, 2006.• Ridley, C. R. 1995 Overcoming unintentional racism in counselling & therapy.• Rosinski, P & Abbott, G – Intercultural Coaching. In Passmore, J. (Ed) Excellence in Coaching. Association for Coaching, 2006.• Ryde, J. 2011 Culturally sensitive supervision. In Lago, C. 2011 The Handbook of Transcultural Counselling & Psychotherapy.• Stevenson, J. & Alidu, S. Improving Ethnic Minority Degree Attainment