The Teaching of Wellbeing | Parent Wellbeing Blog

The College Scheme of Work for the Michaelmas Term 2021

 

“Well-being is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”

– Noam Shpancer, PhD

 

A warm welcome back to Marlborough College Malaysia and a particular hello to those of you joining our community for the first time this year. As we settle into this new academic year it is helpful to reflect on our journey thus far with the ‘[email protected]’ program, as well as where this next year is going to take us. We are as deeply committed as ever to the development of our pupils and the wider community. The pandemic has, if anything, accelerated our sense of urgency to learning and teaching skills of mental health and well-being at school. We are looking forward to an exciting year of learning and growing alongside the pupils across both the Prep and Senior schools. 

 

The well-being programme this year is changing slightly as we begin to implement the “[email protected]” (infinity loop) framework which was the result of last year’s commitment to build a model for flourishing unique to MCM and it’s community. The quote above shows how we understand and approach this important work – as a journey and a process. Similar to summiting a mountain, the peak is but a small portion of the experience. The entire journey is what truly matters. We are looking forward to many exciting initiatives this year related to pupil flourishing and excited to take you on this journey with us. 

 

Wellbeing in Prep School

MCM prides itself on providing a truly holistic experience for every child studying here and an important part of that is the Wellbeing programme that encourages each pupil to flourish during their time in the Prep School.  Our wellbeing curriculum, delivered through lessons, assemblies and form time, further prepares young people for life beyond the classroom. Within the overarching [email protected] themes introduced this year (Body, Mind, Spirit and Community) we discuss topics such as digital balance, equality, risk-taking and careers alongside a significant focus on building pupil’s self awareness enabling them to make personal and effective choices in order to play an active role in our community.  Children will often have many thoughts and questions about these topics so I hope they will bring these up at home too where you will also be helping them to develop their sense of self.

In Prep, we have a fortnightly focus on our Character Strengths. These 24 personal traits are recognised and valued across cultures and impact on how we think, feel and behave. Our house point and merit system are also focussed towards rewarding these strengths and learning behaviours, embedding them throughout the Prep School.

 

 As always, we are already looking forward to celebrating many special days and events this term, starting with Upsidedown Day later this week.  Some of these, such as Anti Bullying Week are a whole College event, while others are smaller, but no less important.

 

Below, you can see the main themes covered by each year group over the course of this term:

EYFSManaging feelings and behaviour

Self-confidence and self-awareness

Taking part, Taking turns

Good manners

Looking after myself

Year 5How I can help myself learn

Using Multiple Intelligences

Positive Relationships, Aspirations and Goals

Naming my Emotions (link to bullying)

Media Balance and Well Being

Year 1Recognising and naming feelings 

My Daily Routine, Gifts and talents

Growing and Changing,

What is bullying?

Media Balance and Wellbeing

Year 6Introducing VIA Character Strengths

Empowering beliefs, Goal Setting

Positive Personal Language

Stand up to Bullying 

Media Balance and Well Being

 

Year 2Understanding Character Strengths

Managing feelings, Choices and consequences

Effects of bullying

Media Balance and Well Being

Year 7VIA Character Strengths

Equality & Human Rights 

What makes us happy? 

Mental & Emotional Health

Peer Pressure 

Media Balance and Well Being

Year 3Positive Emotions, Managing my moods

Resolving conflict,

Taking responsibility (inc. bullying)

Media Balance and Well Being

Year 8

 

VIA Character Strengths Survey

Developing as a well-rounded global citizen

Careers, Making good decisions

First Aid

Media Balance and Well Being

Year 4Understanding Multiple Intelligences

Tools of Resilience, 

Understanding body language

Risks and Responsibilities (personal safety)

Media Balance and Well Being

  

 

Wellbeing in Senior School

 

As mentioned in last week’s well-being blog, we have a new framework for how we approach pupil development and well-being in the Senior school this year. This framework is the result of research conducted on the specific context of MCM as an international school in Malaysia, as well as a multitude of evidence-based well-being frameworks being used in schools around the world. The combined characteristics allowed for a unique take on our infinity model of pupil development focused on the four dimensions of BODY, MIND, SPIRIT and COMMUNITY.

 

The research revealed that there are multiple dimensions in which well-being can be expressed and developed including physical, psychological, spiritual, and collective. Starting with the well-known framework of PERMA (Positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement), schools around the world are now teaching and integrating both the more traditional health behaviors and skills with concepts from positive psychology. An emphasis on building resilience and strengths, mindset, purpose, and community are present in virtually every school well-being model to date. You can see in the image below how each of the topics fit within our four dimensions of the “[email protected]” framework. 

 

Following this framework, well-being lessons this year will encompass building skills starting with the Body element in Michaelmas, then focusing on the Mind, Spirit, and finally on the Communitythroughout the rest of the year. You can see a list of topics for each domain in the pyramid below. These were specifically chosen because the research showed them to have the greatest impact on pupils’ well-being while in school. In SHELL, lessons will place a greater emphasis on the Body and Mind, as pupils learn the connection between the elements of health, safety, and psychological well-being. REMOVE will cover the four dimensions in greater depth and allow for discussion around the relevant issues that arise as pupils move through the senior school and develop their individuality. In HUNDRED, pupils will focus on developing skills to help them get organized and cope with exam preparations and anxiety that may be prevalent as they take their IGCSE. They will also consider what they define as success and how they can benefit from giving back to the community.

 

Lessons in the Sixth Form are going to be closely linked to pupils’ CAS (Career, Activity, Service) experience, alternating on Friday afternoons weekly. As they work on their IB CAS projects, pupils will explore the infinity loop one last time through both theory and action. The format of lessons in the Sixth Form will be highly conversational and give pupils a chance to apply what they have learned thus far in their journey. A greater emphasis will be placed on individual responsibility and prepare pupils to take charge of their own well-being as they leave for university. 

 

This academic year will also build on the already strong relationships between pupils and staff as tutors will be delivering well-being content to their tutees. In boarding, the strong sense of community that HM’s and resident staff foster will continue to encourage positive choices and growth. We will also look at the best ways to measure outcomes and continue to develop research based interventions as the academic year progresses. As mentioned, this is a journey we are taking at our own pace. Adjustments and changes will be made as feedback is collected from the pupil councils and staff. There are also many activities to look forward to as we return to classes in person later this year. We look forward to keeping you updated on this progress. 

 

Rachel Lockyer, Year 2 | Head of Well-being Prep School

Diane Trif, Head of Well-being Senior School | Researcher in Residence

 

 

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