ToL 021: Alcohol & Young People

As the festive season approaches, the chances are that alcohol will be flowing and we’ll be toasting the New Year and absent friends. Alcohol is here to stay and is engrained into our culture - so what does that mean for young people? In this episode I provide a basic introduction to alcohol awareness and the kinds of issues that families might discuss to give young people the best chance of making deliberate choices, based on the best information available.

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ToL 020: Navigating the Mock Examinations

This episode emerged from a presentation I recently gave to the pupils in my school who are preparing for their mock GCSE examinations in the new year. The focus was on how to manage their anxiety levels in the build up to the exam period, having already completed a busy and tiring term of work. The talk was wide-ranging and explored mindset, sleep hygiene, revision techniques and stress management strategies. I have reproduced it here in the hope that the message might prove useful to a wider audience.

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ToL 019: MeeTwo

MeeTwo is a multi-award winning app which provides a digital space in which young people can support one another in having conversations about difficult things. In this episode, I interview co-CEO and co-creator of the app, Kerstyn Comley. We explore the origin story of the app, why it is so ground-breaking and how it is re-shaping our understanding of how teens think and manage the most challenging aspects of their lives.

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ToL 018: Tough Skin, Tender Heart

In this episode which comes just ahead of National Anti-Bullying week, I offer my thoughts on why schools should look at bullying as an opportunity for growth rather than something we should be committed to stamping out. The rest of this week’s recording is an extract of a longer interview I conducted 18 months ago with bullying expert Brooks Gibbs.

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ToL 017: Master Your memory Part 1

Most of us never tap into the true potential of our memory. We have a supercomputer sitting between our ears but it’s like we have misplaced the manual and have not idea how to get the best out of ourselves. Study skills are essential to success in school and with a little know-how, you can make a quantum leap in your ability to progress across the subject range. In this, the first episode in a series on Study Skills, you’ll learn the secrets of the ‘Link’ and ‘Journey’ methods for learning facts with instant recall.

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ToL 016: Dropping the 'F' bomb

How we frame failure and rejection is a better predictor of long-term success than our IQ, our environment or our talent. In this episode we explore what you can do to reframe your relationship with struggle and setback; top performers in every walk of life say that failing fast and often provided them with the route map for their success - tune in and find out why!

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ToL 015: Cyberbullying & the Game of Secrets

More than half of all teens will be a victim of cyberbullying at some point growing up and yet there is so often a conspiracy of silence when it comes to reporting and discussing online bullying. In this episode I offer my thoughts on managing cyberbullying and include an interview with the cast of ‘Game of Secrets’ - an innovative devised performance piece created by 4 of our Sixth Form students.

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ToL 014: Bullying & the Bystander Effect

Bullying is an unfortunate but enduring aspect of many pupils’ school experience. In this episode, we look closely at the psychological phenomenon of ‘the bystander effect’ and what, if anything, we can do to create a culture of ‘up-standers’ instead. I draw from my two-year study of ‘everyday heroism’ and suggest four competencies which, if purposefully developed as part of the curriculum, can turn the tide and create a community founded on compassion and acceptance of difference.

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ToL 013: Managing the Homework Mountain

One of the biggest challenges that pupils must manage as part of their educational journey is not what happens in the classroom, but what they must carry away with them at the end of each day. Homework! In this episode we will be taking a look at the habits and strategies that pupils can use to make sure they stay on top of their work load and use homework as a launching pad for success, rather than a barrier to achieving their academic potential.

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ToL 011: Email Etiquette

More of our daily communication is digital and our inboxes are filling up faster than ever before. Knowing the conventions of email and understanding how to avoid the pitfalls of poor communication are critical skills. Whether you are requesting a homework extension, asking for help in understanding a lesson or informing your teacher that you will be missing a class, there is a right and a wrong way to do so. In this episode, you’ll be guided through a 10 step checklist to take your email to the next level.

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ToL 010: Gut Health for Students

We all know that having a healthy diet is an important part of overall health and wellbeing. The evidence is growing, however, to suggest that keeping the trillions of bacteria that live in our digestive tract happy, may be a critical factor in how we perform in the classroom and exam hall. In this episode, I explore the fascinating world of the ‘enteric nervous system’ and offer some simple takeaways that you can use to optimise your gut health.

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ToL 009: S.U.M. - David Ralph (Join Up Dots podcast host & entrepreneur)

In this episode, I am going to be chatting to David Ralph - entrepreneur, out of the box thinker and host of ‘Join Up Dots’ podcast which has been running since April 2014. David had an ambitious mission to touch the lives of more than 1,000,000 people through his show and online resources and now, just 4 years later and with more than 5 times that number of downloads since he started recording, he has already smashed that target.

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ToL 007: Mindfulness 101

Mindfulness is a simple but powerful way of getting back in touch with yourself when the chaos of everyday life is pulling you away from your centre. Just a few minutes practice each day can have huge benefits to your health and wellbeing, classroom performance and quality of life. Listen in to find out all you need to know to make mindfulness work for you. 

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ToL 006: Self Harm - Name, Don't Shame

More young people are cutting, scratching and burning themselves as a way of coping with overwhelming feelings, than ever before. The issue is made all the more difficult to address because of the conspiracy of secrecy and shame that accompanies it. In this episode, I break the silence and offer an honest, unvarnished commentary on what self-harm is, why young people do it and how we can help them embrace healthier coping strategies instead. 

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ToL 005: Your Miracle Morning Routine

Most people stumble out of bed, once they can no longer ignore their alarm, and then dive headlong into the chaos of a new day. Without realising it, they’ve set themselves up for failure! How we organise and spend the first hour of each morning can have a massive impact on our success in the classroom, on the sports field, in the exam hall and wherever else we need to bring our ‘A game’. In this episode, we explore the building blocks of a successful morning routine and how you can create your own.

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ToL 004: Anxiety - Up Close & Personal

Anxiety is a growing issue among students of all ages and yet it is still very much misunderstood. In this recording, we explore why anxiety is more an over-protective advisor than an enemy to be destroyed. We look at how anxiety can show up in our bodies, thoughts, feelings and behaviours and we consider some simple ways in which we can develop a wiser and more healthy relationship with our anxiety.

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Andy Fisher
ToL 003: S.U.M.1 - Dan Edwardes/Marcus Alexander

School Under the Microscope (SUM) is a new innovation to the ‘Tests of Life’ podcast platform. Each episode will showcase an interview with one or more thought leaders in their field who look back on their own education and consider how school did or did not prepare them for life beyond the classroom. In this inaugural episode I chat to two of my closest friends and huge successes in their respective fields - Dan Edwardes (CEO Parkour Generations) and Marcus Alexander (author and renaissance man).

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