POS ED FOCUS DAY - YEAR 11

The year 11 Positive Education focus day was a day organised primarily by year 11 students for fellow year 11 students to bring a bit of positivity into their peers lives after the semester 1 exam period. All of the activities were done as a whole year group because it seemed important to give everyone the opportunity to connect with anyone in the year group rather than dividing our year group of 200 which is often the case. All in all the feedback from everyone indicated that a great day was had by everyone who enjoyed the opportunity to do something a bit different as well as relax.

Amy Underwood (Yr11 He)

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Opening and Introduction

The 2014 Year 11 Pos-Ed day began with an opening welcome from Luca Brew and myself; we outlined the day’s activities and enlightened our peers as to what the focus of the day was. We aimed to incorporate the ‘five ways to wellbeing’; Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning and Give to create a greater sense of community within our year level whilst still encouraging the individuality that is so prominent among us. The group who organised the day (assisted greatly by Mr. Andrew) believed the most effective way to accomplish our goal would be to create a sense of safety and acceptance and so a few students beginning with Luca and me, revealed some of our quirks that make us who we are. Through the sharing of information our year level laughed and enjoyed hearing of some of the unexpected habits or hobbies that different people exercise. We also gathered a few quotes on what people understand best represents Positive-Education. When Nick Morrow was asked what he thought of Pos-Ed he replied, “Pos-Ed isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain”, Xenia Brookes said, “mindfulness has taught me to have more self-control” and Jilly Roberts described Pos-Ed as the “essence to sanity in a boarding house”, all of the comments were related to everyday life and how students approach challenges and practice Pos-Ed on a day-to-day basis.

We finished by explaining that the activities we were to pursue would be different, innovative and encompass the five ways to wellbeing and our vision of an accepting community formed by individuals.

Freya Johnson (Yr11 He)

A Guest Speaker Who Advocates For Refugees

From the beginning of the day, we met at the BW Theatre to prepare for a speaker to come in and talk to us about refugees. The primary focus of this presentation was to incorporate the aspects of taking notice, learning and giving as ways to wellbeing. The refugee talk was very informing, and I personally learned many new things, such as: how most refugees travel by plane to Australia, the number of asylum seekers in Australia is so little compared to countries such as Germany and China, the processing of asylum seekers takes more than 200 days in Australia whilst countries such as America take less than 20, and many more. Listening to the speaker's talk has really made me more aware of the current state of Australia's asylum seeker and refugee laws and has convinced me to become more involved in helping organisations that do support and protect asylum seekers. 

Nancy Wang (Yr11 Fr)

Bush Dance

As part of the “Five ways to Wellbeing” we managed to incorporate two of the five in one activity. Bush Dancing, familiar to those who attended Timbertop, but sadly since neglected by many, contained “Active” aspects. Moving about the space in a high-energy environment with our entire year level was entertaining and a great way to “be active” whilst still enjoying ourselves. Two external dance instructors led the activity and separating into groups we “kept learning” new routines and dance steps that either we were completely unfamiliar with or had forgotten. Developing new skills, and discovering interests is both great for lifting confidence and for training the mind. Although a challenge for many, it was enjoyable and the atmosphere was incredible. The activity created the perfect environment, free of judgment, and allowed people to express their individuality within our year 11 community. Altogether the activity was a success and a fantastic way to begin the day. 

Freya Johnson (Yr11 He)

Brunch and Dodge Ball

Throughout the day, we also had brunch and games of dodgeball. For brunch, we set up the sound system and had music playing in the background whilst the year 11s would come in and have a meal. As a group, we slushed after the majority of the people had finished their meals and then moved onto dodgeball. Dodgeball was a challenge to organise, however we worked collaboratively and had planned which house was competing against who, the umpiring, music, etc. The activity was a great and fun way of connecting and being active as a cohort.   

Nancy Wang (Yr11 Fr)

Chapel

This was a chance to reflect on the theme for the day.

Creative Chalk Drawing

Lastly, the day ended with a few of us drawing massive puzzle pieces on the road below the clock tower that would represent all five ways to wellbeing. The main aim for this activity was to gather the year 11 cohort together to work on something creative (through colouring in the puzzle pieces). The organization of this activity required perseverance, as we had a few people going up and down the clock tower telling us where the puzzle pieces should go in order for it to fit into the photo. There were also many times where we had to wash the chalk off and redraw it. 

After participating in the organisation of such a day, I am amazed at our efforts and how smoothly the day went. Throughout each activity, I noticed we always had members of the committee jump in whenever someone needed help with an activity. Overall, this activity has really increased my awareness of the thought and effort needed to lead such a large event. Being involved in this activity has been very enjoyable, and I am moved by how well the committee worked together to create a successful day. It is through this, in which I am looking forward to becoming more involved in future events like this.   

Nancy Wang (Yr11 Fr)

Conclusion

The day was organised and run by the student committee comprising Luca Brew, Claudia Chandra, Katie Clingeleffer-Woodford, Emma Darling, Omar Elkadi, Bridgette Hardy, Freya Johnson, Glen McGrath, Juliette Moran, Tara O’Reilly, Will Strapp, Amy Underwood and Nancy Wang. They took responsibility for the various aspects of the day and ran the day with commitment and thought.

The intention of developing a day of activities that reflected the Five Ways to Wellbeing (developed by the New Economic Foundation in the UK) was very successfully enacted. The willingness of the Year 11 cohort to enter into each activity with enthusiasm and energy as well as consideration, made the day an enormous success.

Steve Andrew
Head of Fraser House

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RECOMMENDED READING

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Mindful Learning: Reduce stress and improve brain performance for effective learning
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Hassed, C. & Chambers, R. (2014). Mindful Learning: Reduce stress and improve brain performance for effective learning. Wollombi: Exisle Publishing.