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Positive Education Workshops

Using the Visible Wellbeing approach from Professor Lea Waters, AM, PhD

Start Making Wellbeing Visible in Your School Today

These professional development workshops weave together the science of wellbeing with concrete examples and best practices from Visible Wellbeing Schools to help teachers make wellbeing more visible in their classrooms.

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Positive Education Workshop Options

 

Book these workshops for your entire staff or an intact team during your PD and Faculty/Staff Collaboration days this year. They will walk away with new tools and perspectives for building wellbeing with students, colleagues (and themselves!) every day.

Click a workshop title or scroll down for more details...

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Making Wellbeing Visible in Schools

How can teachers help to build something they cannot see? As a teacher, it may be hard to know the state of wellbeing of each of your students. Yet, given that wellbeing deeply affects your students’ ability to engage and learn, it seems fruitful to find ways to take the invisible and make it more visible.

The good news is that there are some basic, easy to learn, techniques that help us get better at reading another person’s state of wellbeing. Most teachers are already doing this at an intuitive level and this Visible Wellbeing module will introduce teachers to the ‘See-Feel-Hear’ practice that allows them to take the inner wellbeing landscape (of a student, a classroom, themselves) and make it more observable and tangible, thus allowing schools to work more purposefully and effectively to build student wellbeing.

Core Learning Objectives:

  • Latest statistics in youth mental health.

  • Research showing how and why wellbeing is a key resource for students to build.

  • Key research findings that clearly link wellbeing and academic achievement.

  • Introduction to the Visible Wellbeing ‘See-Feel-Hear’ practice.

  • Practical methods and examples for how to make wellbeing more visible in the classroom.

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Strength-Based Teaching

Every teacher wants to bring out the best in their students, yet our broader education systems are often deficit-oriented and focus more on poor performance, problem behaviour and correcting weakness than on building strength. What’s more, in the day to day rush of schools and with pressures to get through curriculum, strengths can get left behind which is demoralizing for teachers and students alike.

This workshop explores three decades of research showing the advantages of taking a strength- based approach for students, including greater levels of happiness at school, higher student engagement, smoother transitions from kindergarten to elementary school, more successful adjustment from elementary to middle school, and higher levels of academic achievement. Research that shows the benefits of strength-based teaching for the teachers themselves will also be discussed in this workshop.

Teachers will learn how to identify and utilize their own strengths in this workshop and will engage in the practice of the strengths spotting technique to better see strengths in their students. A range of teaching strategies that can be used to take a strength-based approach will be presented to teachers in this workshop.

Core Learning Objectives:

  • Key research findings linking strengths to wellbeing and academic achievement.

  • Best practices for introducing strengths into the classroom.

  • Practical methods for how to embed strengths into the staffroom.

 
 
 

Managing Emotions to Enhance Learning

According to Neuroscientist, Jill Bolte Taylor “Although many of us think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think”. Indeed, the latest findings from neuroscience debunk the old idea of cognition and emotion being located in separate areas of the brain and, instead, show that academic learning is a deeply emotional process and calls on areas of the brain that intertwine cognition and emotions, most especially the pre-frontal cortex.

According to the principles of brain-based learning, emotions affect a students’ ability to absorb information, process information and store information. Add to that the latest research from the field of positive psychology which shows that positive emotions enrich a student’s cognitive functioning in areas such as brainstorming, memory, creativity and lateral thinking - we now have a convincing reason to teach with emotions in mind.

The role that emotions play in complex learning encourages teachers to think more clearly about the emotional climate needed in class to ensure productive learning. As a trained psychologist, Professor Waters has designed this module to help teachers look at how emotions affect learning and to understand the circumplex model of emotions. Teachers will asses the emotional climate of their own classrooms and will be given strategies to manage negative emotions and enhance positive emotions.

Core Learning Objectives:

  • Key research findings that link emotions to cognition.

  • An audit of the emotional climate of your classroom.

  • Practical methods for how to manage negative emotions and enhance positive emotions.

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Building Positive Relationships in Schools

Students’ sense of school belonging has emerged in education research as a core factor influencing learning and wellbeing. Meta-analysis research by Professor Lea Waters and her colleagues shows that when a student feels that they have good relationships at school they have better psychological functioning, higher self-esteem, stronger self-identity and greater resilience – all of which support more effective learning. Sadly, the international PISA research shows that more and more students are reporting high levels of loneliness and disconnection from school. This is concerning given that medical research and social psychologists have shown that loneliness has damaging effects on both psychological and physical health. In fact, loneliness is experienced by the body in a similar way to physiological stress and has been shown to damage our immune responses.

Schools have always been both academic institutions and social institutions and can offer an antidote to the rising levels of youth loneliness. The field of positive psychology provides schools with simple and easy ways to help students meet their social needs and, thus, be ready for and engaged in learning.

After exploring the research evidence in relation to school belonging, this workshop will take teachers through an appreciative inquiry exercise that helps them to identify what is at the heart of positive relationships at school. Once these factors have been identified teachers will work in groups to find ways to more intentionally and strategically bring these factors into the social climate of their classroom. This workshop will introduce teachers to strategies such as active- constructive responding and the use of brain boosts to enhance a sense of connection amongst students.

Core Learning Objectives:

  • Research showing how and why school belonging is necessary for schools to build.

  • Appreciative Inquiry exercise to help teachers identify the factors that create belonging in their schools.

  • Practical methods and examples for how to create positive relationships.