The second week of term has brought new learning opportunities for our students. Our hybrid model of school is different and evolving with VCE and VCAL students on campus and our Year 7-10 students embarking on a second experience of the Home Learning Program.
For all teachers, the shift to Home Learning again meant a rapid change to alternate modes of learning and teaching. Staff are better equipped and resourced to ensure all students in home learning receive the best education they can during these challenging times. Media has reported the significant workload and time staff are needing to put in to plan and deliver effective teaching as well as deal with personal situations associated with a new COVID environment. Whitefriars staff are no different, working extremely hard to provide the curriculum; I am very grateful for their work.
Additionally, almost three-quarters of all school teachers express concerns about the remote learning negatively affecting students’ emotional wellbeing . For many families, this has been a challenging time with teacher, parent and student wellbeing raised as serious concerns. We continue to provide the best care for each student whether they are on campus or studying at home.
Some students thrived academically at home, particularly those who can self-regulate their learning whilst enjoying the independence, quiet learning spaces and parental support. On the other hand, others require more support, opportunities to seek teacher instruction and feedback and peer collaboration to learn. Likewise, a student may experience internet issues that influences attendance and class participation.
The Learning Team recently reviewed research about Psychological Capital (PsyCap) in the context of supporting staff by drawing upon the H.E.R.O within. H.E.R.O is an acronym for Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism.
With uncertainty and disruption at home, school discussions then centred on how students can engage in learning and remain connected to others in our community using H.E.R.O.
Hope – having an expectation of a positive outcome and a set of thought to being successful a) goals b) pathways thinking to plan how to meet goals.
Students can extend their expectations beyond what they believe is their ‘potential’. They must set goals and then believe that they can achieve these by developing plans and working to the best of their ability. Despite today’s context posing many great challenges, the mission and message of Jesus instils a hope and possibility for each person. Learning brings forth this hope – a hope that is based on the experience of God’s love and care for all.
Self-Efficacy – believing in one’s capabilities to execute a task
Students who exhibit self-efficacy use the resources available to them (teachers, peers, technology, library, texts). They are self-efficacious and are goal and task oriented. Utilising curriculum resources on Whitefriars Teach and accessing teachers through online technology, Whitefriars students continue to develop their self-efficacy in their studies. A pleasing aspect this year is the large number of Senior Years students attending the Academic Study Centre to improve their learning.
Resilience – responding to pressures quickly, adaptively and effectively
Resilient students are flexible and adaptable when challenges arise. These students use creativity and problem solving to find alternate ways forward. Students look to learn from their experience and exhibit a growth mindset rather than avoid or blame others. Our students have demonstrated that they are very resilient; adapting and pivoting a number of times throughout the year with bushfires and COVID. Looking for opportunities to respond successfully or learn from challenges.
Optimism – associated with cognitive processing (thinking, knowing, remembering, judging) of expectations and making positive choices about succeeding now and into the future
Students who are able to shift their thinking to view the world from a positive perspective, will amplify positive emotion and acquire skills in doing so. They will discover strengths which will enable them to adapt. Subsequently, they will develop a purpose beyond themselves so that they are able to serve others (i.e. chores at home, helping others in the Academic Study Centre). Our boys can continue to develop optimism by being grateful for one’s blessings whilst tackling negative thoughts and beliefs head-on, in order to find the positives.
Mr Mark Ashmore
Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning