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Inside Knowledge

Mar 12, 2018

Show Notes – Linzi Band

Linzi teaches as the Australian Independent School – Jakarta, Indonesia.  Grade 7 – 12.  160 students.  Mixed cultures throughout the world.

Started as an EAL teacher.  Felt there was something missing among pastoral care.  Had a background as a Youth and Community Development worker in some very deprived areas or the UK.  Had a conversation with the principal about putting in a programme to support the students’ needs holistically.  If students are socially and emotionally ready then they will learn but they need support to manage the intensity of their emotions.  The principal gave her a trial period to develop a programme.

She created her own curriculum which gives her the freedom to create.  The proramme is not only proactive but it can also be managed reactively as well to deal with issues that might occur within the student body. 

Reports of bullying reports are going down.  There is a significant increase in positive by standing which tells me the students are increasing their confidence to speak out.  Having a positive attitude and a growth mindset supports a student to feel more confident and be able to engage in potentially conflicting conversations. 

Parents love the programme.  A lot of them wish they had this programme when they were at school.  Relief that their child is being equipped with the skills that they always wish they had.  Their child has a fair chance of coming through school without having to experience “the school of hard knocks”.

Resilience is learned from experiences but a lot of it is the way we handle the experience.  We need to be explicitly taught to manage our emotions, to have empathy of others, have self-efficacy, be mindful, have the growth mindset, positive self-talk.  We don’t naturally do these things.  We need to practice this daily.  It gives us a better chance of being resilient when the tough times come and to come out of the situation with less emotional trauma.  

She brings a lot of her youth work into the classroom.  The classroom has to be a safe place.  There is a lot of discussion, lots of emotionally based words.  Students are noisy but peaceful because they know they are safe. 

Her personal journey to resilience came about from the school of hard knocks.  She struggled through school, was bullied intensively and responded badly to that bullying.  Her mother died when she was 17 just as she had left school.  She brought a lot of things into her life that were very difficult to manage.  It wasn’t until she got into her mid-20s that she realised she had survived and decided to use that strength to help others.  Her Dad became her mother and was an amazing man.  She had a great auntie who was an amazing role model.  She was tough and could get through anything.  She was lucky to have those people in her life, without them she’s not sure she would be here.  Having those experiences took her to university – she had developed an affinity with disengaged people who had it tough.

If she had had someone like this at her school she would have been a lot better off but she is not sure she would be where she is today.  She doesn’t see why any student on her watch has to go through these things.

She believes in working with young people while their minds are still open.  Also working alongside the parents so they can go home and have those knowledgeable conversations with their kids. 

There are great websites out there for parents.  Positive self-talk to encourage their child to turn things into something positive.  Children want their parents to hear them.  Listen, listen, listen.  Model optimism in the family home.   Acknowledge that some days the student won’t be positive and that is okay.  Smiling Mind app.  7-minute mindfulness practices.  Can start at primary school.  Work with your children to become more empathetic towards others.  Research, seek out workshops, talk to other parents. 

Finding a school where your child is going to flourish and not just academically.  Parents and teachers should work together as a team.

One recommended tool for resilience – a growth mindset.  Also controlling impulsivity, healthy optimism, positive self talk.