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Opportunities to thrive during virtual school

Head of Middle Secondary (Pastoral & Wellbeing) Mr Alexander discusses how we’ve adapted our integrated wellbeing curriculum to suit the needs of our learners during this time of Virtual School. We also hear from Year 10 IGCSE student Marya who shares her thoughts on the wellbeing activities available at the British International School HCMC.

Definition of well-being

  • Feeling good and functioning effectively.
  • Having the skills to respond to challenges and setbacks
  • Having a positive sense of self, positive connection with others and with the wider world.

(H.Street 2018)

Few could have predicted the new challenges we are facing at the present time or how important our wellbeing programme would prove to be. The above definition of wellbeing, which became the foundation of our new curriculum at the beginning of this academic year, could not be more relevant as we respond to the ‘new normal’. As we have transitioned to virtual learning so to have we developed a virtual ‘Wellbeing Menu’ to offer our students a range of activities to help them not only build greater resilience but also provide the opportunity to thrive. IGCSE student Marya comments:

“BIS is a great school in providing us a relaxing environment to study and develop ourselves and it seems to be that all these things about the coronavirus don't stop the school from doing great in supporting the pupils. I really love how the teachers have considered giving us more time to finish all the work and it is nice to know that they will be ready all the time to answer our questions. I, personally, really appreciate their efforts during these hard times.”

The IGCSE experience at the British International School HCMC balances academic achievement with character development and wellbeing. Building on the principles of the PERMAH model, the Wellbeing Menu activities are specifically chosen to support the development of ‘positive body, positive mind and positive emotions’. They provide students with three different daily challenges – ‘something to do’, ‘something to think about’ and ‘something to evoke emotions’ which they can access at their leisure. In addition, students are encouraged to interact with our ‘Wellbeing at Secondary’ website by submitting song requests, favourite recipes or fantastic examples of their Wellbeing work. This has helped build a strong sense of community connection between school and home and provides students with the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Wellbeing Menu. Activities are carefully chosen to encourage students to connect with family, friends and the wider world in general.

BIS is a great school in providing us a relaxing environment to study and develop ourselves. Marya, IGCSE student

Marya says: “I found the wellbeing programme very useful in bringing our spirits up and recommending us some activities in which we can do to pass time. The activities are not just enjoyable but also help us to improve ourselves such as our health when following the workout videos, our photography skills when participating in the daily photograph challenge and most importantly, they have taught me how to live slower and enjoy every single moment in life.”

It has been wonderful to see the level of engagement to date and the amazing creativity and talent shown by our students. Marya is a wonderful example of a student who has successfully balanced the requirements of her academic learning whilst maintaining a focus on her own personal positive wellbeing. Her daily entries to the Wellbeing Photo Challenge have maintained the strong connection she shares with her Tutor and Wellbeing teacher and given an insight into some of the positive benefits we can take from this time – the opportunity to participate in new experiences, learn new skills, discover new talents, connect with others and spend some real quality time with family.  

“Since the start of the wellbeing program, I've participated in the daily photograph challenge which allowed me to discover a lot of wonderful things to take pictures of in my house. I was really surprised that we can still take lots of good pictures even when we're not allowed to go outside. There is one thing I really enjoy when staying home, it's that I've found myself quite fascinated with baking. It was such fun being able to create lots of good food and since then, my kitchen has always been full of a wonderful aroma,” explains Marya.

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She concludes, “I'm very thankful that the school has provided lots of great opportunities to keep up with our learning through this hard time and it would be really nice if we could have a whole school celebration when we are all back!”

Positive psychology at BIS HCMC

Positive Psychology at BIS

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