The Geelong College’s new three Rs wellbeing program provides students with the tools to flourish in society
The link between wellbeing and effective learning has been well documented, and schools are increasingly challenged to develop social and emotional learning and to ensure their students are prepared for life. Young people today face complexities not well understood by most adults. Their careers will be fluid, their interactions often online and the increasingly global nature of society means they need to be broad-minded, focused and able to understand their place in and influence on the world.
“Research through the University of Melbourne suggests that young people at school now will have around six career changes and will live and work in three different countries over their lifetime,” said The Geelong College Principal, Andrew Barr. “To thrive, our students will need to be good decision-makers, strong communicators, be able to think through major issues, to inquire and solve problems, and be ready to show the world what they have to offer. This takes more than knowledge; young people need to be confident, tolerant, wise and resilient to make a difference.”
At Geelong College, there is an understanding that social and emotional learning is a journey, one that involves families, teachers and students communicating openly with a common language. They have developed a program based around a new “three Rs” to help students develop skills and understanding in the key areas of Resilience, Relationships and Reflection. The school believes that, in learning these skills and attitudes, its students will go on to be more effective in their work, have more meaningful relationships, develop a healthy sense of self and an ability to bounce back when things go wrong.
Triple R program
Resilience — I can
Students are supported and challenged to recognise and strive for what they want. If they don’t reach their goal or they face difficulties along the way, they are supported to learn acceptance, to explore options and to make good choices about the next steps through a rich diversity of learning environments. Through this type of learning, students gain different perspectives, become more flexible in their thinking and can activate coping skills. Most importantly, they gain an understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses and learn that they are resilient, so that they have the confidence to dream big and to make their own choices.
Relationships — I care
Students learn about establishing and maintaining positive personal and online relationships that demonstrate care and concern for others as well as themselves. This includes looking after themselves physically and emotionally, resolving conflict constructively, recognising and resisting negative influences, working co-operatively in a team, participating in service to others and knowing where to seek help.
Reflection — Now I see
Students learn a range of self-managing and self-awareness skills including mindfulness, goal setting, good decision-making, impulse control, identifying emotions and expressing them appropriately, coping with stress and anxiety, and time management. Throughout their learning journey, they will also be challenged to identify their strengths
A key part of the program is Community Service, which is embedded into the curriculum. Students develop relationships with a wide range of people, learn tolerance and understanding and are challenged to reflect on their own life and how their choices affect others. Stepping outside their comfort zone opens the mind up to possibilities and extends thinking, while genuinely helping others builds awareness, civic responsibility and self-worth.
Triple R runs right across the school from Early Learning to Year 12 and is embedded into academic learning, co-curricular activities, the house and leadership systems as well as in specific subject areas where, in addition to classroom learning, they work on the “three Rs”. The program also embraces wellbeing days throughout the year including RUOK day, National Anti-Bullying Day and Mental Health Awareness Week.
“The importance of this type of learning is well understood now at Geelong College, by students, staff and families, and it is becoming increasingly prominent in the media as educators and the community see the effects it has on individual learning capacity and on society,” said Mr Barr. “It is something all schools need to do and to do well, so that our young people are ready for the challenges ahead.”
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