We have become a society that is ever more connected to our technology. Next time you are at a restaurant, in line at the store or travelling, watch the number of people who are using their phones, tablets and other devices. We are a generation awash in technology and the information it provides us; we have become iCitizens. What are the rules, policies or laws for us as digital citizens? Little direction is being provided and without help, people are finding that mistakes are being made and often their results have a large audience.
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back and to overcome difficult and challenging life circumstances, and develop hopefulness. Young people and children face continuing pressure to succeed in all aspects of life. Imagine that pressure if you have huge emotional hurdles to overcome as well. It has become more widely recognised that, for some, they are at risk of negative outcomes. As educators not only do we have a responsibility to enhance and foster academic achievement, we also have a duty to support a child’s emotional development and well-being. This includes helping to strengthen resilience to all manner of hazards in their environment.
People everywhere are fast recognising that the ‘Values Revolution’ has truly arrived, and is re-shaping many aspects of our lives as well as our families, schools, businesses and other public and private organisations around us. Savvy teachers will want to ensure they are preparing their young citizens well, and providing quality guidance that creates the foundations for their success now and in the future.
“School is a scary place when you hate yourself. I spend each day so fearful and anxious that there isn’t the faintest possibility of me concentrating in class…. so I do worse… which makes me hate myself more and fear my lessons more.” Naomi, 13
“I stopped going to swimming club because I hate how everyone looks at my fat arms and short legs. I would always feel sick before club, so now I don’t go.” Sean, 10
Many years ago a headteacher, of long standing, said to me that ‘children do not suffer from depression’. This of course is not true, and was a rather naïve statement to make. Although to be fair, mental health conditions weren’t as widely recognised then as they are now. It is now accepted that children and young people can suffer from all manner of stress, depression, loss and anxiety disorders which may affect how they cope on a day-to-day basis, and can result in negative behaviour and thoughts which in turn can impact on their ability to learn and relationships with their peers.
With the new curriculum upon us, Rosemary Dewan of the Human Values Foundation explains how pupils can make terrific strides with an education that embraces hard skills, soft skills and intrapersonal skills...
Following extensive research (Lovat, Toomey and Clement, 2010, see below), education experts consider that “the best laid plans about the technical aspects of pedagogy are bound to fail unless the growth of the whole person – social, emotional, moral, spiritual and intellectual, is the pedagogical target”.
Chances are, you watched the occasional film in school. Dances With Wolves, Of Mice and Men, Chicken Run, Hamlet… there are plenty of movies that do the rounds. As such, I’ve suggested my own list of 10 films that I’d recommend using in the classroom, depending on the age group. Now, these are of course down to your discretion. I’d absolutely recommend checking out the BBFC descriptions for each one, and you may even want to watch them yourselves before putting them on for your pupils. Each of these films offer something useful for studying larger issues, and should be ideal for some very fruitful discussions afterward.
Given that pupils have to learn a huge amount, it can be easy to forget about their emotional wellbeing. The Human Values Foundation’s Rosemary Dewan discusses the importance of this matter.
What subject is dynamic, cross-curricular, student-centric and stimulates children and young people? This is a subject constantly arousing their curiosity, thereby enabling teachers to capitalise on pupils’ eagerness to learn, and affording plenty of practical opportunities for schools to work collaboratively with parents, carers and professionals who are involved in guiding and mentoring children. The answer is values education.