You could do worse than listen to an Olympian to improve your personal and social capabilities. Olympians are resilient and they become experts in resilience. It’s good to hear from them and know that they are sharing these life lessons in a very productive way.
This is what social management is all about. Inspiring others. Finding the ways forward and the ways to lift others up. The good news is you do not have to wait another moment to make the world a better place. You can do it right now.
It’s true. We are quick to respond with physical first aid. We are learning to offer and accept mental first aid but we keep running into an emotional block with emotions. We can find them embarrassing, unacceptable, intolerable. We forget we are human and others are human so our first reaction is often to deny the emotions or tell ourselves off and put ourselves down. This video straightens the picture and gives insight into how we can help ourselves and others more appropriately and effectively.
Metacognition: Nurturing self- awareness in the classroom is a very thorough and well formulated article about how to help students reflect on their learning so that they gain insight and self-awareness. It introduces you to the concept of the Compass Advantage which is a very handy way of looking at how you deliver content and then get some good outcomes for the students. Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell argues a strong case for metacognition to aid self-awareness and learning:
Metacognition plays an important role in all learning and life experiences. Beyond academic learning, when students gain awareness of their own mental states, they begin to answer important questions:
- How do I live a happy life?
- How do I become a respected human being?
- How do I feel good about myself?
The article offers a number of strategies for building self-awareness in students and so is well worth reading and considering.
Image: Free Management Books
I am not going to replicate what is in the article I am giving you a link to. You are quite capable of reading it for yourself. What is interesting is Christopher Pappas has linked emotional intelligence to e-learning and what we can do as teachers to acknowledge and build in the personal and social capabilities as we work with technology in our classrooms. ACARA supplies indicators and elements for us so it is a matter of ensuring we are addressing those as we implement tasks and content via technology.
Martin Seligman is the well-known, well-respected driving force behind Authentic Happiness and the benefits of applied positive psychology. I have featured him here before in past years on this blog . Positive Psychology and the Authentic Happiness site can do much to help us interpret the social management and self management aspects of our national curriculum. The site has plenty to look at , to think about and there are questionnaires, current ideas and views and videos. There are plenty of resources there to educate yourself and your students.
Maysoon Zayid. What a powerful performance. Watch this talk. She is someone who can cover the all the indicators of the personal and social capability in one talk. Her leadership in this area is extraordinary.
This video has had over 4 million views on You Tube. The construction of the video, so that it has an impact, is worth paying attention to. This man is a teacher. He knows how to take a piece of information and plant it right into another human being so that it grows. He has very good social management skills which is why the video has had so many views. The message addresses the criteria/ indicators for self-awareness but by the end of the video he is addressing the criteria for self- management. We have to take a positive view of ourselves and push through on it so we become confident, resilient and adaptable.
A beautiful video with a powerful message. It tackles a big issue in society in a way we can all deal with. We can then get out the statistics if we want to and have a closer look and debate the areas of concern in a safe way. There are all sorts of things which could be discussed as a result of seeing this video or you could just show it and let it work its magic. It fits into the self-management and social awareness elements of the Personal and Social Capability.
To cut a long story short, I am tired of looking up what each of the capabilities are. I have a broad idea and broad knowledge but cannot spout them out accurately. There is a lot we have to know for the general competencies , so anything to make it easier. I have just made myself an image of the four areas for the personal and social capability. This way I can see it in one glance.
recognise personal qualities and achievements
understand themselves as learners
develop reflective practice
The multiple intelligences test ( in English, Bengali, Urdu , Arabic, Chinese and Somali) gives you a chance to have a look at what your multiple intelligences look like according to the test. This test is as a written version in English or aural version in all the languages. This is the second time I have done it. I first did it a couple of years ago and what this second test result shows is that I have changed and grown. I have had an opportunity to strengthen some of the areas which were not so good. I have worked on my fitness, I have made an effort to know myself better. I am not sure why that has come at the expense of interpersonal skills but I shall think about it. The test is not the answer and it is not necessarily completely accurate. My linguistic score ought to be the best because that is my real strength and is widely acknowledged as such. Were you to do this with students you would be able to have some easy conversations with them about their personal qualities and achievements. You would be able to discuss whether they agreed with the results or not and you would be able to show them it could help them learn better if they knew how they learned and what their learning strengths are. It also means they can do the test again and have a look again and reflect like I have. The multiple intelligence test then becomes a tool for promoting good conversations about who you are and where you are headed and what you need to do to get here.
This video has had over 4 million views and it is doing the rounds on Facebook as well. If you read the comments under the video then you may well be as surprised as I was at the level of swearing and disparaging comment. If you filter that out you can see there is a bit of a discussion as to whether a boy like MattyB should promote himself in such an obvious way because he has a sister with Down’s Syndrome. That adds a whole new level of discussion to the video which has been made in order to address what are the social capabilities in our Australian National Curriculum. It uses real people. It creates a scenario which highlights some important issues when it comes to accepting others, how to deal with that and how to improve relationships with all people . For Matty to make the video it is about developing his leadership skills and helping him to use the tools and networks he has to resolve conflict and develop leadership skills. So, there are so many discussions to be had around this video which relate to the social capabilities. Were I to show it in class I’d be doing a cut and paste on the comments so I could block out the undesirable material for class. With older students I’d look at why that would occur with a video like this and that is also relevant to the social capabilities.
For Social Awareness students at all the levels have to be able to :
appreciate diverse perspectives
contribute to civil society
For Social Management students have to look at being able to:
negotiate and resolve conflict
develop leadership skills.
When managing your own and the behaviour of others it can be very hard to pinpoint what constitutes emotional abuse. Trying to have rational, logical discussions can be difficult because people are not really clear about emotional abuse. When we look at self management , students need to be able to:
express emotions appropriately
develop self-discipline and set goals
work independently and show initiative
become confident, resilient and adaptable
For social management they have to be able to:
negotiate and resolve conflict
develop leadership skills
The personal and social capabilities are about emotional intelligence and so students need to have a clear idea of what constitutes emotional abuse. Reach Out has explained it all very clearly so there can be sensible and reasonable discussions about such behaviours and then strategies for managing them.
This video is getting towards the 2 million in 4 years views on You Tube so it holds meaning for people. The Personal and Social Capability is about enabling or blocking yourself and enabling or blocking others. Could you do any of the things shown in this video? Would you want to? Would you want to encourage others to do any of the things in this video? Would you want to be the one who stops them? I don’t want to jump into the Grand Canyon or anything like it. I would not encourage anyone else to do it. This video has made me think about where my boundaries are and where they are for me as a teacher. There is no doubt when you watch the video that these people are truly amazing in what they can do and what they have achieved. It really is about how high we can fly as human beings. I was thinking about the risk assessment for some of the things. What would it be and how would you put it in place? This is why we need the Personal and Social Capability. We do need to enable ourselves and others. We shouldn’t block ourselves and certainly not others…but where would you put the boundaries?
Experience is a great teacher and so this clip would be a good way to get students to engage with older people to get he benefit of their hindsight and life experience. It would also be a good way for them to engage with technology and work out how to present a message which would mean something to others. According to the ACARA indicators, for self-awareness students need to be able to :
recognise personal qualities and achievements
understand themselves as learners
develop reflective practice
The video is a a good way of reflecting on what they learn and find out. Year 10s could make a presentation which would be suited to Year 8s. Year 8s could look at what different age groups would say to them at their age. There would then be a mulling over process and then a capacity to look at themselves as learners and as emotional beings. This clip encourages emotional intelligence in a very practical and appealing way.
For self-management students need to be able to :
- express emotions appropriately
- develop self-discipline and set goals
- work independently and show initiative
- become confident, resilient and adaptable
This video is about Britain’s approach to assisting self-management with health care but if you put it into an education context then it has some good suggestions and recommendations which we could use in schools. If you provide students with good quality information so they can see a range of options in terms of their behaviour and choices and then increase their capacity to set good goals for themselves our job as teachers becomes that of mentor. We can help students to become realistic about moving forward. We can help show them what is blocking them from getting to where they want to be. We can provide some good digital resources so they can explore ideas and options for themselves. One good point the video makes is not to push people into change. It is a case of providing them with positive ideas and plentiful good quality resources which will bring bout light bulb moments. The video looks at how useful technology can be in doing this. There are so many sites, apps, safe online resources which can help students find out things for themselves in the safe context of school with an adult who can help set a non judgemental perspective. By doing it this way we would be assisting students to become confident, show initiative and independence.
In area of social management students have to be able to:
- communicate effectively
- work collaboratively
- make decisions
- negotiate and resolve conflict
- develop leadership skills
Making hard decisions is something we can learn . If we are not able to make those sorts of decisions then we can neither further ourselves nor others. A lack of capacity to make hard decisions might also lead to conflict and poor communication. Any leader has to have a real competency in being able to deal with hard decisions and a capacity to find the solutions and work arounds. Making hard decisions means you can further yourself, others, your team or organisation but it also reinforces your own sense of self and your self confidence. Ruth Chang very carefully explains how this all works and even though her talk is more suited to an older audience, the substance of it and the arguments and ideas upon which it is predicated are things which we can pass on to secondary students. The foundation belief of reasoning and reasons are what will enable someone to make those tougher decisions which always need to be made in order to change their life in a big way.
Mark McCrindle has a brilliant infographic of generation Z. These are the students we are teaching now and if we want to get the best out of them in terms of personal and social capability then we need to understand them and we need to have a clear idea of their experiences and preferences. If we want to enable them both personally and socially we need ways of understanding how they think and operate and what means something to them. This infographic puts it all in a nutshell . Ex English teacher Adam Renfro also has an excellent and detailed look at Generation Z on his GettingSmart site. If we are looking to improve areas of personal and social capability then it is important to look at the wealth of information which helps us to understand these students better. Both Mark McCrindle and Adam Renfro have offered teachers a great service by providing us with quality information.
The personal and social capability is about enabling or blocking others. This is a very creative use of technology to help others see the error of their ways. Put your phone away. It’s not worth it.
The social capabilities are about understanding relationships and learning to communicate effectively. This video puts it all in perspective so you can keep the tech-life balance.
I love little videos like this. They are engaging, they are uplifting and they make you feel like you can change and achieve. Goal setting comes up under self-management in the ACARA personal and social capability and I think the one step at a time is a good way to help students manage their approach to changing themselves for the better and getting what they want. They can use graphic organisers and mind maps to help themselves to work out the steps. It would be a good exercise to allow them to discuss their hopes and plans with others too. There would be all sorts of ways they could visually represent these steps so it would be an interesting visual and creative exercise too.
This song Happy by Pharrell Williams has had over 205 million views. There must be something in it that everyone loves. It deals with the self-awareness, self- management aspect of the Personal and Social Capabilities. It is about recognising your emotions, recognising your personal qualities, expressing your emotions appropriately and becoming confident and resilient. 205 million people can’t be wrong. The lyrics are here.
This video is made from a sales team point of view. Obviously schools are not about that but the concept of focussing on solutions rather than problems is a good way to create team work, collaboration and participation in leadership activities . These are all indicators of the Social Management element of the Personal and Social Capability. The video gives you a clear idea of how you could approach students differently to get better outcomes with these indicators. It is about helping them create a new approach and perspective for themselves. More importantly the video highlights how you need to take the student from how they see themselves through a journey to help them reshape their social management skills.
In order to help change personal and social behaviour and achievement it is important to create a feedback loop where you enable decision making and get quality feedback. I have been trialling the ORID feedback and I have been impressed with the depth and quality of the feedback from students. Far superior to any other method. When you are teaching it is essential to engage students in a feedback loop. Create information and content, share it and then get feedback. That feedback loop is critical to providing better and more informed lessons where everyone is using technology and may be looking at content differently. So many people absorb information visually and so many people are using technology in a different way so each person’s strengths can become an asset in a classroom if you know what the strengths and learning gaps are. Getting good feedback means you have to have an organised and specific approach to getting ideas in a way that you can utilise them to construct better lessons. ORID is an evaluation tool which has some real strengths and which I have just reworked so it can be used in my classroom. I found out about it because it was in the recent newsletter from FacilitatorU. I have been subscribing to their emails for quite a few years now and they always come up with ideas which give me practical help to be a better teacher and to relate to my students in an effective way. Over the years their way of doing things has proven to be very effective when I have worked with groups. I used the life cycle chart from Microsoft Office to create my ORID feedback.
A powerful video which fits in well with the indicators of the social capability. It says what we all want to say in a way we couldn’t even think of saying it.
Safer Internet Day is a European initiative which has gone world wide. Next Year it will be February 10th. This year it was February 11th. Internet safety fits in perfectly with the social capability. In a connected world , students need to know how to become leaders on the internet and how to manage internet relationships positively.
For Social Awareness students at all the levels have to be able to :
appreciate diverse perspectives
contribute to civil society
For Social Management students have to look at being able to:
negotiate and resolve conflict
develop leadership skills.
Safe internet day is a good way to look at those indicators and certainly everyday should be safe internet day. We ought to be able to create a learning environment which enables good digital citizenship skills. The welcome page for the safer internet day is here where they will be compiling the results of this year’s safer internet day. iinet features safer internet day and gives a run down of the sorts of social sites and dangers students may or may not be involving themselves in. As teachers we need to be aware of the sorts of sites students access so we can offer independent advice about internet safety.
Corny as it may sound, it was a major concept breakthrough for us as a group to work out our purpose and what we reacted to so wholeheartedly was the notion we could “share the love”. We decided our job would be to be the unblockers, the enablers and the ones who would be able to trigger thinking about personal and social capabilities. We did not think it was our job to tell people how to do it because teachers are professionals with a lot of experience and different ways of approaching their classes and students. We warmed to the notion that we could be facilitators of this and spent quite a long, animated, productive time thinking of all the ways we could spark insight into personal and social capability and whom we could target and how. We isolated our target groups, the resources which would be appropriate and the scaffolding we needed to enable ourselves and our group. We have reached the end of our school year being able to tick all the boxes on the personal and social capabilities ourselves! Great feeling. In fact, if I have time I may well get those capabilities out and chart what we have done to match them.
Couldn’t be happier with the way my Year 8s have responded to the social management capability feedback sheet. Again, they have come up with some really great ideas and sound approaches for resolving weaker areas in social management. Now I have completed my feedback set of the personal and social capability I can only say there is a lot of classroom power in this and I plan to introduce it early in the new school year next year for all my classes. Here are their ideas:
One of our TV current affairs programs, The Project featured a clip about Jihad Dib who had taken a western Sydney school and turned it right around. The clip takes about 3 minutes and in that time you can see how well Mr. Dib has put the Personal and Social Capabilities to work. You could have the assessment rubrics out and tick every box for him and you can look at this video and know this is what the Personal and Social Capability looks like in action. As Rita Pierson said in her TED talk – every kid needs a champion and the Personal and Social Capability offers us a way of championing students in a very comprehensive and life changing way.
Notice indicators of possible problems earlier
Be a bit more open minded
Be more confident
Have a bit more control
Be better at accepting different groups in society
Improve my communication
Not judge others
Be more responsible
Know what is happening before dealing with problems
Think before I speak
Believe in myself
Fix the little things
Be more willing to try new things
Be a contributor using my strengths
Ask if others are okay
Know my own value
Help at home
The social capability is about recognising the worth of others and being able to work with them. It is also about being a good communicator and being able to notice the social setting you are in and its requirements. Schools should be diverse and vibrant. Teachers should be good communicators and be able to transfer those skills to their students by working in partnership with them. We do need opportunities and encouragement to grow so that we can blossom!
In less than two minutes Todd Whitaker spells out some very effective ploys and characteristics of successful teachers. They care and they want to make a difference. This is where I have found the Personal and Social Capability in our new curriculum to be effective. I have unpacked and used the personal capability with my year 8 class and all I can say is it has made a real difference. My relationships with those students are easy and positive because of it and I have a positive framework to refer to. On Monday I am all set to unpack the social capability with them and my belief is it will be easier and more straight forward than the personal capability. I know next year I shall be using this with all my classes. It just makes the conversations easier , more direct and then very productive. You don’t get caught up in a game. You can see your way through the reactive responses and steer everything quickly onto firmer ground.
Kid President was such a good pep talk for us as teachers today and the bit I liked the best was when he said teachers should be teaching and students should be studenting. We started our meeting with the pep talk and it lightened us all up and we were ready to work and share ideas. That ought to teach us something about how to engage learners in a positive way. It is about being positive and cutting through the blocks and barriers to learning. It is about attitude. From that point onwards we shared ideas, showed each other other videos and our ideas for the personal and social capability and it meant we could see our way through to having more positive action with regard to this capability.
This article on the Huffington Post blog about Why Generation y Yuppies are Unhappy gives plenty of food for thought and plenty of ideas about how to manage the frustration of Gen Y people. Those younger have also been brought up as special and have an even stronger idea about how to project themselves through social media and in a visual world and it is the negative side of that we often hear about in the news. This article gives us some insight as how we can better manage it and the Australian Curriculum gives us the perfect tool with its Personal and Social Capability. That is all about getting students to keep their feet on the ground and to look at how they impact on others and how others impact on them. It also addresses effective communication for dealing with issues and problems. Tools to manage your life positively. I have seen it at work in the year 8s I have explained this to this year. I have been more than impressed with how the work we have done has translated in effective , sensible action on their part to resolve issues and problems because they have the thinking and practical tools. This unicorn on the green grass with flowers is a wonderful image. It shows simultaneously the stuff of creativity and inspiration and then the pitfalls of not being grounded. The social awareness and social management aspects of this PASC are an opportunity to help students make realistic decisions and take realistic action without dampening their need to dream and dream big .
Quotes from Jiddu Krishnamurti are all over the internet since he is relatively popular with 20 somethings and has an influence on those studying philosophy, education, mental health and psychology. He was friends with Aldous Huxley so his role has been to give food for thought for what we call social awareness in the new Australian curriculum. Sometimes it is worth knowing the sorts of influences on our students so we can engage with them and then draw out their thinking and ideas.
It doesn’t matter whether you look at it from the original, social awareness, perspective and appreciate the diversity of others and say You matter or whether you look at it from the self-awareness perspective and think I matter, the truth is … we matter. Personal and social awareness relate to our feelings of self worth and the worth of others in our lives. Self respect and mutual respect. From a teacher point of view it is about being a champion for those you teach.
People often are frustrated because they think the other person doesn’t get them or that they can’t get help because they are being ignored, brushed over…This little cartoon hits the nail on the head in terms of effective communication. When people want to get help or want to be heard then often they are saying the wrong thing. They are not saying the thing which will penetrate that communication barrier and get their point across. Effective communication comes under the element of social management. If your message is not getting through, management is not going to occur. I think this will be a good little video to show my year 8s when I do social management with them. I often say, can you please ask that question again in a way I can understand or I say, okay, I’ll try and say that again in a way you understand. We often talk about understanding via good communication in my classroom. This video will help that. Curious to see what my students will think of it now.
At one point in our meeting today we worked out that it is better to let people talk rather than to terminate their contribution. We worked out that if someone had something to say they needed to be heard, often because it was important to them to say what they had to say or they would feel a level of frustration which we, as a group, could resolve just by letting them talk. That was an important step because we had been talking to a time limit in order to try and keep the meeting moving and to try and allow everyone to have a say at any given time. Jeffer London in his video explains clearly why it is important to let people talk and , in fact , to encourage meetings that run along those lines. It is about enjoying the meeting, taking pleasure in being with others and then allowing a flow of communication. Isn’t that the social capability? That’s what I am preparing to embark upon with my year 8s so the meeting has given me some good direction. In the rules of effective meetings, which is well worth reading , discussions are encouraged for the following reasons:
1. People feel good that they are consulted. This has a positive psychological effect on compliance. The implementation of the action is generally smoother if people have been consulted and informed.
2. People feel that they have at least expressed their views.
3. Sometimes it helps people to let off steam or pent-up frustration which adversely affects performance if not released.
4. Increases employee motivation as they feel that they are part of important decisions.
5. Sometimes excellent ideas are thrown up because of the diversity of thoughts and experiences of the participants.
6. The decision maker is better informed of the repercussions. Not only can this help in a more informed decision, it can also aid in a better planned implementation.
7. A meeting promotes interaction of people and keeps people informed.
Talking motivates people. The social capabilities are about learning to communicate effectively, contributing to social groups, understanding relationships, appreciating the perspectives of others , learning to collaborate and making decisions based on negotiation. Our decision on letting people talk has far reaching consequences for this social capability and as such provides a good stepping stone into the social capability.
We are rolling out the Australian National Curriculum. My interests are obviously languages, literacy and ICT but I am in the Personal and Social Capability teacher learning community at school for the general competencies. It builds on all the work I have done with regard to well-being being one of our core responsibilities as a teacher. I was wondering , though, since I do have a commitment to ICT in the classroom and well-being, how well the Personal and Social Capability would mesh with ICT and classroom use of technology. I put the four elements of the Personal and Social Capability into a grid and then the general descriptors for each element. You can download your own copy if you want to:PAS in a nutshell.
As I looked at it, I thought we could not be doing better at getting a good fit between ICT and the Personal and Social Capability and that, if we were to view it through the PASC lens, we would have a very good and solid structure for introducing, implementing and using ICT in our schools. PASC at its varying levels is about developing sound communication, encouraging leadership, creating a basis for understanding in relationships, developing confidence and resilience and recognising personal qualities and achievements. It is about enabling or blocking yourself as a person and about enabling or blocking others within a group.
Technology offers opportunities for all these things. You can publish to the web or present in class to create a sense of recognition and self worth. You can use safe online sites like Twiducate and create a sound, ongoing feedback loop which encourages reflective practice. If you engage with safe online communities or look at sites from around the work you help to build international and global connections and perspectives. To use technology really well you have to be able to communicate effectively. The audience can be an international audience or you could be being read/viewed by a whole class of students. If you have problems you have to engage with others to resolve them because no-one can know everything about technology. You can’t just throw your phone on the floor because it is not doing what you want. Technology offers so many opportunities for learning and teaching. Everyone can learn and everyone can teach. More importantly, that has to be conducted in a civilised way so looking at cyberbullying and cybercrime can be part and parcel of technology use in class and the social capability offers some good indicators for showing that is occurring and it can be logically managed in an education environment.
You are welcome to download the document for the year 8s: PASYear 8. I have put all the indicators for Year 8 under the elements and on one sheet. Since I introduced the personal capability to my year 8s I have wanted to remind them of it, but as a teacher, I also need to keep an eye on the social capability because it is where I want to lead them this semester. Having it there for ready reference, I can stick it on my desk, have it in my folder , show it on the board in class if I need to and know I am using what the Australian Curriculum says and not my version of it. If we all use the same language, this is going to work really well.
Forty years in the classroom shows. Rita Pierson can speak with such clarity, such honesty, such confidence and such knowledge. She is a jewel. Her talk is all inspiration because 40 years in a classroom has made her capable of understanding and knowing that it all comes down to relationships and connections. It is the stuff of the personal and social capability. Students will enable themselves when they have a champion. They will do better, try better and achieve more when they have someone who knows how to get the best out of them. The personal and social capability is about this: communication, developing leadership skills, understanding relationships, becoming confident and resilient, recognising personal qualities and achievements. Rita Pierson’s words can ring out and resound because she has spent 40 years in a classroom and she knows what she is talking about. As she speaks she is connecting with her audience and teaching them too about personal and social capability. We are educators. We can do this.
Amongst other things we revisited character building in our group yesterday because we were combined with the group which was looking at the Ethical Understanding capability of the Australian National curriculum. It is important to remind ourselves that building character is probably a good and worthwhile thing to be doing for children and adolescents. As adults we ought to be looking at the sorts of values we should like our next generation to have. There are plenty of resources for character building and development on the Net. Our school has open and published values we engender and maybe for character building we should look at those again to see how we can sustain them or whether we need to revise them. Maybe you do need to change the emphasis on character traits that you want to develop depending on the decade you are living in and your location? We were shown the Via Institute on Character as a spring board for the sorts of material to look at. You can also look at Goodcharacter.com to find plenty of resources and information. Then there are the 9 character types from the Enneagram site. These are often a good starting point for discussions about character and what we mean and what we want. Somewhere in our society we need our building blocks for character building. It used to be the Bible and in some societies and groups it still is . Other nations use their religious beliefs and writings to be the things which guide character in life. We also had fairy tales and folkloric tales but these seem to have lost traction as well. As a nation we need to be looking at what we are using as foundation blocks for our character development. ACARA can feed into that easily but the source material could widely differ and we need to consider if that is what we want.
My image via befunky.com
I have worked with the indicators of the personal capability since I introduced them to my Year 8s. I now consider the time I spent to explain what they meant and for us to have a common understanding of the indicators to have been time well spent. When you are in a group or organisation , it is really good to know you are all marching to the same beat and interpreting things in the same way. The common ground established through agreed understanding is important to self-regulation and for helping others to be team players. My belief is I need to do this at the beginning of the school year with all of my classes. It would be good for all students to have the same explanations at the beginning of a school year so that we are all using the same language for the personal and social capability. Once you have that understanding and common ground the conversations seem to flow very easily. So, my belief at this stage , about teaching the Personal and Social capability is that it creates some real advantages because the common language across a school means:
1.Personal capability is connected to social capability is connected to ethical behaviour is connected to achieving or not achieving as an individual or group
2.There is a common language and understanding which a group can use for self- regulation
3.There is a common language which an individual can use to get help and support
4.Individuals can understand how relationships are formed
5.There is a logical and agreed way for managing self and others
My students had overwhelmingly responded that working on their health and fitness would improve their personal capabilities. It was a clear message which came through. We should all be working on our fitness! The University of Bristol has done some studies on working on fitness and the Daily Telegraph reported the following:
The key findings were:
Seventy two per cent reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days.
Seventy nine per cent said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised.
Seventy four per cent said they managed their workload better.
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Bob Doyle on the selfgrowth blog has 10 really good reasons for encouraging fitness at work. It is about energy, enthusiasm, being there and not just doing your job. Healthy people are more productive and are happier. Fitness Australia also looks at workplace health and fitness.
Schools are well placed to create happy, healthy environments since they already know how to manage and create teams and teachers are familiar with team building approaches. It is not just that, though. When my year 8s were responding to the indicators for the personal capabilities they were looking at taking responsibility for their own health and welfare. They were looking at how they could improve their eating habits and how they could improve their fitness. That’s a message we could build in schools which could be carried over into adult work environments so that the workplace could then help create workers who thrive.
This is a different way of looking at resilience. How people interact with their environment and could then self regulate is important. As Steve Lansing says, once you stop looking at the hierarchical approach , you allow yourself to think about the complexity of interactions and social structures. Plenty to think about and investigate here.
Now I have been through the self review of the personal capabilities of self-management and self-awareness I can already see the time was well spent. Yes, already. From the time we looked at self-awareness there was a culture change in the class to that of being more focussed and particular. Having also done the self-management and then the goal setting I can see the benefits already. I now have ways of expressing how to improve. It’s consistent because we have all done that exercise. I can now ask all students to be on the same page with regard to blocking and enabling, with regard to how they can make the most of their learning time, with regard to how the are helping or not helping each other and themselves. What they liked was having some clear messages as a whole class about how they can help themselves and what appropriate behaviour is. I need to keep pursuing this. It’s a strength of what we have just achieved. I am wondering if they will deal with their sleep issues and their health and fitness. What they really liked was being able to give themselves a mark out of 10. In fact, they told me that is how they should assess themselves! They also like being able to say if they needed help or not and who would help them. The time frame was something that annoyed them. they didn’t want to have to say when so frequently they responded “as soon as possible.” I maybe need to look at that part of the self review to come up with something better. I now have to decide when to do the social capabilities. Probably next term. Ideally it should be personal capabilities in the first semester and social capabilities in the second semester. Next year I can start with this. If you click on the link, you can download a copy of the self review I made and use it for your own purposes.
Having done the self-awareness review and then the self-management review it was quite straight forward and easy to do the goal setting. On the top of the sheet we set the goals for my subject area and on the bottom of the sheet I encouraged them to set goals for other things since they had mentioned so many other things in their self reviews. I have spent 3 sessions of about 25 minutes of class time on this. It’s a good class and we shall be able to make up the time. Not so sure that a subject area, which is already interrupted by other activities is the place for this but the national curriculum is not giving us a choice. Perhaps we need to look at how all these capabilities are actually going to be addressed in a subject area. Having said that, my Year 8s are so much clearer about how to manage themselves and their work now so it does have good value in terms of application and improvement. It has helped them to create a better sense of self and how to achieve and to ask better questions in class.
One of the other frequent feedback messages from my Year 8s from their self review on self-awareness and self-management was to get organised. Not to leave things until the last minute. To think out their decisions, thoughts and work requirements. It is always easier said than done. These are students in their first year at high school so there is a lot of organising to be done. They lead busy lives and are involved in a number of activities as well as their subject choices. The School Family site has plenty of good tools and resources to help students and their families cope with the demands of a busy school schedule. Most of them are downloadable pdfs. Then there’s Maria Gracia’s Get organised now site which covers literally everything so that anyone can become organised with anything. No chance of any excuses now!
After I had worked on the self-awareness and self-management capabilities with my students they had worked out for themselves that getting enough sleep would help them perform better in both of those elements. It was a frequent response in their self-reviews that they needed to get more sleep. It certainly ties in with the research that is available.
Dr Blunden explains that insufficient sleep can contribute to problems such as:
• Poor behaviour – at school, home and work
• More extreme moodiness– irritability and low tolerance for frustration
• More conflict in social interactions
• Difficulty problem-solving
• Decreased attention span
• Reduced creativity
• Less effective memory
The happy child site is worth visiting since it gives a great deal of practical and sensible information about teenagers and their need for sleep and the reasons why it might be difficult for them to sleep and how to address those. The other site , more directed at students themselves,which is well worth a visit for the useful and down to earth information is kidshealth.
These are the five clear messages my Year 8s came up with after we looked at the indicators for the personal capabilities – self-awareness and self-management. If that is the outcome then I am happy with that because they have reinforced the good messages for themselves. They know to get enough sleep. They know to stay on top of things. They know to look for the positives and they know to stay steady. When we set their goals on Monday I shall be able to show them what they can come up with. That ought to give them confidence to set some achievable goals.