Flexible learning helps students with disadvantages finish school

Despite encouragement from federal, state and territory governments to complete school – and a legal obligation to “learn or earn” – one in five young Australians still leaves school before the end of Year 12.

By Kitty Te Riele, Victoria University

Despite encouragement from federal, state and territory governments to complete school – and a legal obligation to “learn or earn” – one in five young Australians still leaves school before the end of Year 12.

Evidence about early school leavers in Australia demonstrates they are disproportionately drawn from disadvantaged backgrounds, including low-socioeconomic backgrounds, Indigenous backgrounds and regional and remote areas. Continue reading “Flexible learning helps students with disadvantages finish school”

Full Engagement: Our Young People Deserve Our Best

Young people deserve educators at their best, who can foster the capacity and willingness for full engagement in their school achievement.

By Tom Brunzell, Senior Advisor Education at the Berry Street Childhood Institute

Flexible Learning Options (FLO) provide young people a second chance to become the people they hope to be. Often, our young people can feel blamed for their own “lack of willingness” to engage, yet we know there are many systemic factors that require them to seek specialised pathways such as FLO.

As educators and allied professionals, we represent a systemic movement that believes that we, as a society, owe these young people educational opportunities to succeed. It is our responsibility to hold ourselves to account to provide best practice and high professional expectations for ourselves as we support our students and their futures. Continue reading “Full Engagement: Our Young People Deserve Our Best”

The Berry Street Education Model

Everyday Strategies for Teachers

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.

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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.

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Golden Statements are special statements that teachers can use in classrooms to:

  • Give directions
  • Issue requests
  • 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.

http://www.childhoodinstitute.org.au/EducationModel

 

Post written by: Tom Brunzell, Senior Advisor, Education, Berry Street Childhood Institute

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