Thank you to everyone who completed the MTQ48 measurer. There were 150 returns to be analysed. I hope people found their individual reports useful, interesting and thought provoking. Many people fed back that it was a good way of understanding the 4 Cs framework of Mental Toughness – Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence – and what it means for staff leader and student development.
The analysis below was put together by by Doug Strycharczyk. Of course, it describes the average person but individual reports were sent to each person who completed it. Individuals who completed the MTQ48 measurer will have different patterns and some will be mentally tough and others will be more mentally sensitive.
The question I’m currently asking myself, having received similar aggregated reports for the three academies is, “How can I best help, support and develop the mental toughness of our staff?” I tend to think if you want something in the class room you need it in the staff room first.
Looking at the aggregated data, we have found that the overall mental toughness scores for the sample, as well as the scores for each of the components, is slightly higher than the scores we have found when assessing teachers and leaders in schools. Some of the difference might be explained by the fact that this survey was self-selecting – based on volunteers – whilst most of the comparative data is non-self selecting. That is, all staff would be required to complete the measure.
The overall average mental toughness sten score for the LeadingLearner sample is 6.3. This is broadly in line with what we would expect from a first line manager and is significantly different to the UK norm for the general population (5.5). It is when we examine the more detailed data for the scales and sub-scales that more interesting observations emerge.
Firstly the pattern of scores mirrors the patterns of scores in most studies on teachers albeit at a slightly higher level across the board. There are variations. The highest scores are Commitment (6.63) and Life Control (6.39). These indicate that teachers generally are goal oriented, will do what it takes and believe they control enough of those circumstances to be able to do this. Interestingly these are also the components of what is recognised as resilience. This is the quality that generally (but not always) enables us to survive what life throws at us.
The lowest scores are Emotional Control (5.39), Challenge (5.75) and Confidence (5.69). All are not significantly different to the general population norm. Challenge and Confidence are the elements which represent a positive mindset – seeing the opportunities as well as the threats. Challenge describes how we approach change, variety, opportunity and risk. Confidence describes self-belief in abilities as well as interpersonal confidence, the mindset to influence others as much as they influence you. These are what enable us to thrive – being mentally tough is about being “comfortable in your own skin”.
What this might indicate is where the development needs for staff may be, either individually or as a general group. The good news is that these can be developed and everyone can benefit.
In February 2017 we will have our second full INSET day on Mental Toughness to look collectively at what strategies might have greatest impact on both staff and students. This isn’t something to rush, it’s something to get right.
Doug and the team at AQR Limited are planning webinars which will explore further mental toughness and, later, talk about how mental toughness can be developed.