The ‘Positive Schools Programme’ adopted by Island School employs an all-inclusive approach in creating a supportive school environment, targeted at both teachers and students. Here Maths Teacher Mr William Wong, a member of the teacher-led team, shares the rationale behind the programme and the goals that they hope to achieve.
The Positive Schools Programme serves not only to benefit the wellbeing of students, but also the wellbeing of teachers. “Teaching is an enjoyable profession, but it can be stressful” Mr Wong explains. Recently, the ESF has been placing more of an emphasis on teacher wellbeing. “It’s something you often hear about, but we don’t really see it put into practice – which is another reason why this initiative is so important.” Mr Wong believes that positivity in teachers is essential in establishing a positive school environment. “If teachers are happy, so are students – emotions can be passed on. If teachers are more optimistic, they’ll enjoy their job more, so they can do a better job, which of course benefits the kids.”
Besides academic achievement, Mr Wong stresses that an equally important aspect to student life is an enjoyable school experience. “A personal belief is that school should be a really happy, positive memory for kids – for me, I had a really enjoyable experience at school, and it’s something I want to help create for students. I think that it’s extremely important that kids don’t just come to school and get stressed.”
Mr Wong also shared some of the projects that the Positive Schools Programme has planned for the future. One of these is an App for Year 12 students to help them manage their stress. “One thing we’ll hope they’ll make use of is an ‘emotion barometer’ to help them be more mindful.” The teacher team is also keen on encouraging students to have a healthier work-life balance. “Students are often really tense and focused on their studies, which according to scientific research, indicates that they aren’t actually being very productive and it might harm their health in the long-term.” As a result, the team is interested in introducing “Wind Down Wednesdays” where students are encouraged to refrain from working during lunchtimes and use the break to socialize and relax.
About the overall programme, Mr Wong says that “It’s important that students take breaks from their studying. Hopefully [this programme] will help students be more productive in their school work, but also help them to develop better mental health.”
By Julia Mulrooney, Communications and Information Manager