How Can You Help Students Stay on Task for Longer?

By Maddie Witter, education consultant and author of Reading Without Limits: Teaching Strategies to Build Independent Reading for Life

Anyone can improve their concentration stamina – from a wiggly toddler to a daydreaming university student. It’s a necessary, lifelong skill for success.

In a school context, teachers can help students learn to concentrate and sit still for longer by consistently including a daily independent reading block at school. Building independent reading is one way a school can effectively build concentration stamina. This stamina leads to significant gains in student literacy achievement and should be coupled with a robust literacy program. It also develops students’ thinking muscles so they can persevere and concentrate in other contexts.

Continue reading “How Can You Help Students Stay on Task for Longer?”

An exploration of Positive Education in Australian schools

Interview by Chris Dawson, Senior Trainer of the Berry Street Education Model

Chris Dawson sat down with Marita Hayes-Brown, CEO of the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA), to discuss all things positive education, including exciting developments in this space and four key actions that schools can take to start incorporating a positive education approach.

Continue reading “An exploration of Positive Education in Australian schools”

What is education worth?

By Joseph Thomas, Ph.D. Candidate, College of Business, Law & Governance – James Cook University. Joseph will be presenting at the Doing School Differently conference in Melbourne on 15th–16th September.


What is the dollar value of education?

You can’t put a price on education? Tell that to the educators across the country under the gun to prove the economic benefits of their work. It’s strange, really. We don’t often demand that doctors prove the worth of their contribution…

Then again, we economists love to put price tags on things. Nature, life-satisfaction, the Year 12 completion certificate.

So what is education worth? Well, it might depend on whose education we’re talking about. Continue reading “What is education worth?”

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.

shutterstock_72424195

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.

BSEM_Diagram_blog-post

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

shutterstock_134316737

Childhood Conversations Pilot Program – Session 4

We are continuing our focus on 21st century childhood. shutterstock_93772915

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? shutterstock_74859610

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

Launch of the HEARTCORE book

Artwork 1

Join us in celebrating the release of HEARTCORE, Berry Street’s new book featuring inspiring personal narratives from the Berry Street School students and photographs of paintings by international street artist, Kaff-eine.

Inspired by the students’ stories, Kaff-eine painted 20 public walls in Melbourne’s CBD, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Noble Park, and Morwell. Each wall was beautifully photographed for the book by Rowena Naylor.

Help support Berry Street and our efforts to improve outcomes for vulnerable young Victorians by purchasing a copy of HEARTCORE and spreading the word.

Artwork16

Pre-register for your advance copy at: http://heartcorebook.com.au

BOOK ON SALE SEPTEMBER 25.