Forgive the acronym, PBS stands for “Pause, Breathe, Smile” and as I have indicated in a previous blog, I accompanied four of our teachers to a training day in term 1. Following the training it is our intention to introduce important lessons and practices from the course to our daily practice. It is hoped that our students will feel greater sense of wellbeing as a result which in turn will strengthen relationships and promote a safe, kind and courteous learning environment.
We have already successfully introduced mindfulness classes during DEEP which students have enjoyed and indicated that they had felt calmer and more focused which has improved their learning. Teachers have also offered calming techniques during lunch time last year during exams when students were feeling anxious, again with very positive results.
We feel that students (and staff) increasingly need to be taught tools which will enable them to cope within a complex, digital and “noisy” world. The increasing number of reported cases of anxiety and depression have been widely reported and are linked to our wired existence where we find it difficult to switch off and live in the moment. PBS or mindfulness techniques have been proven to have a positive impact on our ability to cope and indeed flourish. Relationships improve, thinking becomes clearer, concentration sharper and generally feelings of being in control of our lives strengthened. By focusing on the present moment mindfulness is able to enhance awareness and enrich the human experience
Mindfulness is not linked to any religion, it is not meditation and so students and parents should not feel threatened by the practices. Indeed I was first informed of the idea at a conference which showed the science behind the practice and I enjoyed a very interesting discussion with the head of Catholic schools in Tasmania who had been running a similar course for several years. I am aware that Baverstock Oaks School has already started to implement PBS practices into its daily classroom practice and also report very positive results.
However should anyone have any concerns I welcome open and constructive communication about this practice and should you wish to research the PBS programme please visit:
Examples of our plan include:
- offering students a chance to access the full course on a voluntary basis during DEEP;
- training our teachers to lead a “ready to learn” type of activity before and after class;
- providing students with mindfulness activities during Learning Adviser Time;
- holding special exam time sessions;
- continuing to offer “active” mindfulness opportunities by exploring nature on trips outside the classroom
We firmly believe that PBS will help to equip our students to meet their personal challenges and opportunities of the future, and thank you in advance for your support as we roll out the plan.
Growing greatness – Kia mana ake