Wellbeing Report – June 08, 2016

June 8, 2016

ENGAGE INSPIRE IGNITE- Positive Schools 2016

Last week I attended the 2016 Positive Schools Conference with five staff; our new Pastoral Care Coordinator, Brad Murray , two Year Level Coordinators, Jacinta Burge (Year 7), Michael Busscher (Year 12), and two of our many dedicated Pastoral Care Tutors , Margy Dodd(Year 7) and Sarah Kochskamper(Year 11).-

There were a range of aspects of school life that were focused upon and the keynote addresses were of the highest quality, led by opening addresses by the Mental Health expert, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Ita Buttrose. Michael focused upon how to use a range of Apps to support students to promote mental health. Ita challenged us to rethink the way schools are structured and championed the voice of the students, focusing upon life-long learning. Our role, in partnership with parents, to raise students as wonderful human beings who can apply a set of life skills to society as peaceful, positive influences in a digitally connected world.-

These were many other highlights of the conference. Some of these themes that were presented in workshops and keynote addresses are listed below.

  • The very talented Maggie Dent ( www.maggiedent.com ), has a range of tips for teachers and parents. Maggie’s website has provided support and resources for parents, please check it out.-

  • Raising the awareness of the significance of student mental health needs and levels of stress. Please continue to contact and work with our pastoral tutors and other leaders at the school. It is so important that the boys realise mental health is just like a broken leg or arm. Sometimes it needs extra help for the healing to begin. Sometimes we need to develop mental health care plans for ourselves and consult medical professionals to get through stages of our lives.-

  • The use of mindfulness activities, such as the -‘Smiling minds’ app. That has significantly decreased stress levels.

  • The importance and necessity of collaborating, assisting and working with parents.

  • Staff wellbeing (and I would also strongly suggest parent wellbeing)- what positive resources/ hobbies, space and time do you access for your own positive mental health and wellbeing?

  • REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy) – this is the process of disputing irrational thoughts, analysing and managing what is the reality of certain situations that do occur in our daily lives. For example, the use of a Catastrophe Scale to help moderate and move to self-regulation of events that do and will occur in our lives. In partnership with parents, we are aiming to help develop the resilience and emotional intelligence of all the boys. This begins with how they embrace life, with all its ups and downs, and learn to bounce back. Dealing with failure and adversity is a very important of this process.-

  • Dr Arne Rubinstein (www.doctorarne.com) – he has devoted his life to learning and developing Rites of Passage for boys and girls to adulthood. Dr Arne’s website has many great resources. I highly recommend his first publication, given to each delegate at the conference, -‘The Making Of Men’, with a forward by the acclaimed Steve Biddulph. An additional You Tube- Clip, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEsWg6DErGc is well worth watching. Listening to experts who can help you become more aware of your son’s journey to man hood is vital.

  • Classroom Glue; Creating Classroom Cohesion– Dr Helen Street presented a wonderful insight into great positive classrooms. She highlighted two factors.-

  • The connection and attraction between the teacher and student is crucial

  • Social norms need to be taught and developed with students.-

With this in mind- the College will be exploring the journey towards a set of- norms for the remainder of the year, founded in best practice teaching and positive relationships. We will consult our community and develop a consistent approach to creating positive and engaged learning and teaching experiences.-

Our future directions at St Patricks’ College will continue upon this fascinating journey with all the boys and families of our community.-

I leave you with one strategy that is the essence of a positive approach to education- Showing Gratitude

My gratitude-

In one workshop we were asked what are we grateful for?-

My answer came quickly to me. I am grateful of how well I am getting to know the gifts and talents of the staff, parents and the boys with whom I am privileged to work with.

What or who are you grateful for?-

Have you let them know yet?-

If not take the next moment that the opportunity arises. Showing gratitude is a well-researched tip to increase your own mental health and wellbeing.- When I have had a challenging day I go for a walk and find staff and boys for whom I am truly grateful that they are part of our community. I never have to walk very far.

Thank you for sending your boys to St Patricks’ College. We are very grateful you have chosen our College.

Take Care, God Bless

Mr Gerard Sullivan

Deputy Headmaster – Wellbeing