Did you know that 1 in 3 people in their lifetime suffer from mental health problems? To recognise and draw awareness to World Mental Health day Scarlett Holroyd in Year 8 presented to the students in the KS3 assembly. She talked about issues and where people could seek help in school and Doha. Scarlett also went on to discuss the stigma of mental health. She showed a number of pictures that emphasised the point, that it’s all about perspective. I have been reflecting on how we as a school, and students themselves can support this. In the school we have a mindfulness ECA, a trained counsellor and we are investigating some break time sessions on mindfulness, as requested by a member of the student body. It reminded me of an article I read about a school in America that has ditched detentions and replaced them with yoga sessions and the culture that this creates in a school.
I believe we all play a part in the mental health, and indeed mental strength of our children and students. This week I walked in to a computing lesson to hear the teacher praising some students for the work they were doing. What was different about this conversation though, was that 20 minutes earlier the same students were frustrated and had ‘given up’, they were not going to attempt a task that they couldn’t do. This also reminded me of another article I had read regarding society today and us not allowing children to fail. It makes them feel uncomfortable and so should be avoided at all costs. As parents we are making sure that our children don’t get upset. My son recently, for the second year running, lost in a Student Council election. Dealing with this was upsetting, however the lesson he learnt from that failure is huge.
We have a strong growth mindset culture in this school. One that embraces the ‘learning pit’ – the emotions that we find ourselves feeling when we are challenged and at the bottom of the pit, and also the emotions and skills required to make a success of being challenged. We speak to the children about failing, and the role models that have failed along the way before they succeed. Our Olympian gymnast that visited us recently spoke of such a mindset. The importance is not saying that you are a growth mindset school – but showing it. This is not easily done, however it is something that we strive for. Mr Porter is due to give a 30 minute assembly to students on this next week. An article in the Times Educational Supplement this week finished with “Schools must develop an ethos, acknowledging that failure is not time wasted, and that something can often be learnt from the experience.”
What else can we all do to achieve this?