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The Five Elements: Wellbeing and engagement

Woodleigh School is committed to supporting all students to find success in their learning through a personalised approach that emphasises on five key elements: Real-World Learning, Formative Feedback, and Reflection, Capabilities for Living and Learning, Student Agency, and Wellbeing and Engagement. The school’s focus on these elements reflects our belief that a contemporary education should focus on developing the whole child and providing them with the cognitive, social and emotional skills required to face the challenges of a complex and uncertain world. In this way, we see the social and emotional development of children as being essential goals in their own right, as well as being a critically important influence on academic learning. As we move through the process of supporting students with the return to campus and face-to-face lessons, the teaching staff are mindful of the importance of focusing on the element of wellbeing and engagement at this time.

So, what does this work look like in our classrooms? Student engagement in learning involves behaviours, such as persistence and attention, as well as attitudes, such as motivation and interest. When implementing strategies for increasing student engagement, we start with a focus on establishing positive relationships between teachers and students. This foundational work helps create a culture of trust that enables students to take risks with their learning, reflect on their strengths and areas for growth, and share their interests and perspectives with others. From this starting point, teachers can provide students with opportunities to focus and extend their attention through immersion in challenging learning experiences and timely feedback.

The school has also identified many key focus areas for promoting student wellbeing, as well as practical actions that can be taken for achieving growth in this domain. For example, in the classroom, our teachers take time to cultivate supportive physical environments by providing access to appropriate learning spaces for individual study, group work, and shared reflection. Similarly, teachers will promote the development of supportive social environments through inclusive practices that accommodate and recognise diversity and build on those differences. While the current community health context presents some challenges for student wellbeing, it is these types of practices that help connect students to the school and their community of learners so that they can succeed and thrive.

Parents who are interested in learning more about the action being undertaken at the school to support the development of resilient and compassionate young people may be interested in reading about our Compassionate Systems Project. While this initiative, launched at the start of this year, the project will enable the school to draw upon the expertise and experience of the teams at the MIT World Education Lab and the Centre for Systems Awareness as we continue our work in this area.

DR RICHARD OWENS
Director of Learning, Strategy and Innovation