During Covid-19, teachers are designing curriculum that students might complete either at home or onsite at school. Based on our research and strategies at the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM), we would like to offer suggestions to bolster your instructional planning. We recommend that teachers design rich tasks for your young people to do at home, rather than sending through smaller tasks. We do not want to overwhelm students or their parents with the need to manage too many things at once.
Teachers are quickly shifting to online learning environments in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the demands of social distancing.
During this crisis stress levels are heightened for all of us. Trauma-impacted students, and in fact everyone, are susceptible to resurfacing trauma-related reactivity due to the compounding uncertainty and unpredictability this crisis presents. It is essential that schools prioritise student and teacher wellbeing and respond to the impacts of collective trauma and toxic stress.
What are the key factors impacting on childhood today?
The pace of change in the 21st century has been rapid.
Despite children being raised in a time that is firmly focused on the needs and cares of children – with greater awareness and knowledge than ever before on the factors that impact childhood – evidence suggests that Australian children and young people growing up in the 21st century are not faring as well as they could be. Continue reading “Childhood in the 21st Century”
The Berry Street Education Model was created in response to teachers requesting strategies.
How do I engage my struggling students in learning?
How do I manage difficult behaviour?
How do I build independence for learning?
The Berry Street Education Model has been design to support teachers as they meet the complex needs for students who struggle from the effects of chronic stress or traumatic stressors. Our model also helps teachers to feel empowered within the classroom to teach the whole-child.
Through our work with schools across Australia, we know that the best strategies help teachers to set up and reinforce a pro-active, pre-emptive, and de-escalated strengths-based classroom. We know that teachers need strategies that they can start using tomorrow; and a whole-school approach is often required to unify practice to nurture success for all students.
Here is one of our favourite strategies:GOLDEN STATEMENTS
As teachers, we hate to feel like we are nagging our students all day long.
“Take out your books. Now turn to page 27. I’ll wait…”
Please turn to page 27. PLEASE turn to page 27…!”
How is the following statement different in tone and mood?
“I will begin teaching when I see all books turned to page 27.”
The first example makes the student the subject of the sentence, and the students can choose to either follow the direction or stall. The second example make the teacher (“I”) the subject, and the teacher declares what she is going to do, when she is going to do it, and the conditions for success. In the second case, the teacher maintains positive power in the classroom while describing what she is going to do rather than what she is asking the students to do. For instance, when you say, “You will…” you lose control; when you say, “I will…”, you gain control.
Golden Statements are special statements that teachers can use in classrooms to:
State their expectations
Repeat their expectations
The last function listed here is our favourite: Golden Statements allow teachers to repeat themselves without feeling like a broken record or a complaining nag.
Golden Statements build relationships because they keep both student and teacher in thinking mode. They stop the arousal escalation of the teacher because the teacher feels that they are issuing their requests in a reasonable manner. Golden Statements empower students because students can see that the teacher is holding the relationship and has clear expectations for the activity at hand.
Please check out the following link on more information, including links to research papers. Please note, we are currently in a research and evaluation process with University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education, a joint effort with the Centre of Positive Psychology and Youth Research Centre.
We are continuing our focus on 21st century childhood.
We are now turning our reflections to Education & Technology.
In particular, we are looking closely at access to technology and how information about family is shared.
When we looked back at our own childhoods, people talked about the T.V. being the only form of technology that most people had in their house. Cartoons were watched after school and on Saturday mornings, and movies were watched with the whole family.
Generally, information about family was shared in an annual family newsletter, sent in letters or discussed over the telephone.
What role is technology playing in 21st century childhood?
How is information about children and families now being shared with extended family and friends? Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? Let us know what you think of these changes.
Post written by: Julie Noonan, School Engagement Co-ordinator, Berry Street Childhood Institute
A retrospective look back at the era in which we grew up…
Childhood. It’s arguably the most important time of our life: a precious time where we need to feel safe, happy and loved.
Most importantly, for some of us, it is a time where some of our happiest memories were made.
Berry Street believes that every single child deserves to grow up with a childhood they want to remember.
The first of our ‘Childhood Conversation’ sessions involved 6 parents from a local school, taking a retrospective look back through their own memories and experiences at the era in which they grew up.
Discussion was informally structured around the following five key themes:
Family environment- including: what did the average family structure look like? What were your perceptions of your parents’ work/life balance?
Health & wellbeing – including: how did you play – structured or unstructured? What environments did you play in? What food did you eat? How much time did you spend out of doors? Risk taking behaviours?
Education & Technology – including: what role did technology play within the family? What and how was information shared about families? Participation in education?
Community Participation – including: involvement in local community? Consumerism targeting children? Children’s voice in decision making?
Material Basics – including: understanding of poverty? Perception of employment/unemployment?
It was a fun and enlightening conversation and we look forward to bringing you a summary of the issues raised.
Post written by: Julie Noonan, School Engagement Co-ordinator, Berry Street Childhood Institute
Technology can provide young people with the support they need outside of business hours.
After Baroness Susan Greenfield discussed some of the issues with social media, CEO of Young & Well Cooperative Research Centre (YAWCRC) Associate Professor Jane Burns, led an interesting workshop on the impact technology has on the mental health and wellbeing of young men in Australia.
Speaking from a personal perspective, Jane’s own 7-year-old son Angus, lives with autism and down syndrome, and relies on an iPad in order to communicate on a day-to-day basis.
A champion for the digital movement, Jane believes that Australia should utilise the technologies available to us today in order to provide youth with more accessible, online mental health services.
She contends that while Australia is one of the leading nations in service provision, we are living in an opportune time to decrease the still apparent disparity in health care in rural societies through mental health professional providing services online, building connections with and between young people.
Working with Movember, Beyond Blue, University of Sydney, and The Black Dog Institute, the YAWCRC conducted a national survey in 2012 to produce a research report on the impact of technologies on young men’s mental health and wellbeing.
Implementing the gold standard of survey-taking, they interviewed 1,400 young men aged 16-25 from all states and territories around Australia, of which 30% were from regional, rural or remote areas, and 2% identified as Indigenous.
Interesting stats from the research:
99% of Australians aged 16-25 y.o. use the internet,
95% of Australians aged 16-25 y.o. use it everyday or almost everyday.
Most are online for 2-4 hours a day,
20% are online for 5+ hours a day.
The top three ways young people use the Internet:
94% email in 2012 (up from 13% in 2008),
93% facebook in 2012 (up from 32% in 2008),
86% YouTube in 2012 (up from 7% in 2008).
How young people use the Internet:
74.8% access the Internet by phone,
69.9% access the Internet by laptop,
34.3% access the Internet by tablet,
30.8% access the Internet by desktop computer.
Where young people use the Internet:
75.9% access it in their bedroom,
56.2% access it in a social setting.
The main issues that concern young men aged 16-25:
47.6% said coping with stress,
26.6% said depression,
26.3% said body image issues,
19.3% said bullying or emotional abuse.
Finally, 42% of young men experience ‘moderate’ to ‘very high’ levels of psychological distress. Young men aged 22 to 25 years consistently reported higher rates of suicidal thoughts.
Almost 1 million young men are experiencing moderate to very high levels of psychological distress. Regardless of psychological distress, use of the internet is almost universal (98%) and in similar frequency. Even with advances in mental health services, young men do not seek help and many young men are not using services until they reach crisis point.
It appears that many men who are experiencing psychological distress tend to go online and use digital tools to express, share, distribute, and discuss their issues with others in a private, confidential setting. This acts as a cathartic tool and mental wellbeing exercise that can translate into their everyday lives.
Jane concluded the workshop by stating that further research needs to be conducted, and more data needs to be collected in order to understand the effects of technology on mental health and wellbeing. She is interested in knowing how we can tap into and use gaming and social media to use and create content for mental health services.