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.
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.
One of the messages which kept coming back across both assessments of self-awareness and self-management was : Be confident. The year 8s were frequently writing to be confident and to be more confident. Again, is this a message they have grown up with that teaches them how to improve themselves or is it something they want to be because they feeling lacking in confidence? Year 8s are now the youngest students in the school and older students are much bigger than they are. Does it worry them? General capabilities are meant to be addressed in all subject areas. I cannot see us going to that kind of depth in a subject area but I do think my awareness of what their needs and messages are will help me help them better. So where would these needs be addressed properly and where is the forum for us to share this feedback we shall get as teachers when we address the general capabilities ? We would want to be looking at how to help our students manage better. Reach out is one site which is a very good resource for self-help and then for getting on the right path. It is very practical in its strategies. For self-confidence building it suggests:
1. Look at what you have already achieved
2.Think of things you are good at
3. Set some goals
4.Talk yourself up
5. Get a hobby
Next week we shall be setting our goals and I will be able to show them that it is one good way to build the self confidence they know they kept saying was something they needed to do.
This song came to mind because on the year 8 self-management review they just kept writing Be Calm as one of their actions to change blocking behaviours. I wondered, when I thought of the song, whether they knew it too or whether they felt a need to be calm, or whether it was something the adults around them had said to them a lot as they were growing up. It meant something to them and so is obviously an expression we need to use when we talk about self-management in schools. We need to ask them to be calm and to maybe help them to be calm. Worth investigating, but in the meantime, enjoy the song.