Media Wellbeing Youth

Talking Youth Depression on Channel 10

In case you missed my appearance on Channel 10 discussing youth depression and wellbeing, you can watch the interview here.

Please share it with your staff at your school, friends or family.

We need to keep on talking about it…

Sign up for email updates here, share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…


Media Wellbeing Youth

Catch Dr Suzy Green and Me on Channel 10 – Monday 6.30pm


Just a quick note to let you know that last week I recorded an interview for the 6.30 Report with George Negus. It is due to be aired on Monday 15th September at (guess when?) 6.30pm on Channel 10 in Australia.

The subject of the story is youth depression and how education can address student wellbeing in a more proactive way. As well as me, Dr Suzy Green from the Positive Psychology Institute in Sydney also features.

If you can’t manage to see it tomorrow, I’ll post the video of it on my site in the coming days.

Sign up for email updates here, share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…


Change Wellbeing

My talk at the Positive Psychology in Education Symposium

On Saturday 16th April, I had the pleasure of attending the Positive Psychology in Education Symposium at Sydney University.

It was a great opportunity to meet with some of the leading educators and psychologists from all over Australia and I’m looking forward to collaborating with some of them in the future…

I was also very fortunate to be invited to be one of the keynote speakers at the Symposium.

For those of you who could not attend the symposium, you can watch my talk here.


Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…


Opportunities for Teachers…

I thought I’d let you know that proposals for this years NSW Teacher Scholarships are now being accepted as well as show you an interesting video from this year’s TED talks – the common theme – improving education by looking at it differently… for those who apply… good luck!

NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarships 2011

You wouldn’t be reading this post if I hadn’t been awarded the NSW Premier’s Anika Foundation Teacher Scholarship… (so you can blame them!!!)

But I thought I’d let you know that the Department of Education are not accepting proposals for 2011. There are scholarships for teachers of all subjects, and I highly recommend having a look at them. If nothing else it gives you the opportunity to look at what you do in a different way.

You can access details of them here.

Anika Foundation 2011

I’m honoured to say that I have been invited to join the selection panel for the 2011 Anika Foundation scholarship to address and raise awareness of youth depression.

You can download the Anika Foundation Scholarship proposal form below…

2011 Anika Proposal Form

Salman Khan speaks at TED 2011

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script — give students video lectures to watch at home, and do “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

 Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…

Education Wellbeing

Study Tour | Week 5 Wrap

So five weeks come to an end. It’s been a remarkable time in the UK, USA and Canada. Just this week I’ve had the opportunity to work with Tayyab Rashid in Toronto, and he is doing some very cool stuff with Signature Strengths in education. He works in a wide range of schools from the affluent to the less well off and looks to engage teachers, students and parents in the work. He is also looking to develop more resources that can be used in schools, and we to be able to collaborate in some way with Tayyab on these in the coming months.

Whilst in Toronto, I also had the chance to sit in a Year 10 English Class at Riverdale School (no connection with the Riverdale school I visited in NYC), where positive psychology had been embedded into the curriculum. This was part of a huge curriculum document that the University of Pennsylvania have designed, and it was being implemented by Tayyab’s wife Afrose. Both Tayyab’s and Afrose’s work is part of a significant research project to measure, in a quantifiable manner, the effect it has on the students.

I also met with Therese Joyce (an Aussie who now lives in Canada) who is the director of the EF School in Toronto. She’s done some great staff development training based on positive psychology which the actual effect on staff wellbeing has also been measured by the University of Melbourne. The results of which the EF school are still waiting on.

From temperatures of -11 (yes, minus eleven) celsius I flew to Phoenix, Arizona to meet with Dr Howard Cutler. Dr Cutler wrote the “Art of Happiness” series with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (The Art of Happiness was on the New York Times best seller list for TWO years!). He is in the process of developing an Art of Happiness educational program, which he plans to pilot in Phoenix. As a psychiatrist, with expertise in Positive Psychology AND years of experience of working with the Dalai Lama, I was hoping for an inspiring and exciting few hours conversation… and I got it! We talked about all manner of things and we challenged each others thinking and agreed on many aspects of our educational philosophy. Again I’m honoured to be able to say that Dr Cutler wants to continue to work with me in the future on in the first instance his Art of Happiness in Education project… very exciting!

To try to sum up what the experience of this tour has been like for me in a few words would prove futile. I believe it will be in the coming months or even years that I truly understand exactly what I’ve gotten from it.

What I can say is that I’ve made partnerships, and dare I say friends that I hope to continue working with in the months and years to come. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and engage with people whose work I have admired for a very long time, and the fact that many of those same people would like to work with me in the future is incredibly exciting and affirming for me.

Thank you to all the people who gave up their time to meet with me and share their work. It was a truly inspirational time.

I’d really like to thank the Anika Foundation who sponsored this trip, and I hope to do them proud with the programs, partnerships and ideas I bring back to Australia.

Where to from here…? To be honest I have so many ideas and projects in mind, that I need to take some time to reflect and prioritise. I know that some of these ideas may well challenge some of the long-held beliefs about education and the role of a teacher, and I know there will be barriers and challenges to overcome.

What I can say is… if you want to come with me… jump on board, the more the merrier!

Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…

Education Wellbeing

Study Tour | Week 4 Wrap

Start spreading the news… I’m leaving today… I wanna be a part of it…

New York… the city that never sleeps! Well I can assure you I slept! I had to be out of my Hotel in New Orleans at 4am to make my flight… before now I only aware of one 4 o’clock in the day!

I was is New York to visit two schools. The  Riverdale Country School and the KIPP College Preparatory School. I would also be travelling to meet with Dr Jane Gillham from the University of Pennsylvania – the international hub of positive psychology.

Riverdale Country School

According to their website, Riverdale Country School is grounded in the values of the liberal arts, Riverdale strives to maintain an appropriate balance among its courses and activities. The School treats students as individuals and respects their unique strengths, while offering the most rigorous academic program possible. It’s one of the top private schools in New York.

I’d heard about Riverdale Country School, because its headteacher, Dominic Randolph appears to know every expert in the field of positive psychology and education. He is incredibly knowledgable of, and highly regarded in the field of positive psychology and education. He and I discussed many different aspects of Martin Seligman’s and Chris Peterson’s (VIA Strengths) work and how we thought they could best be implemented into education. What I really liked about what Dominic is doing at Riverdale is that he is keen to access all the research and base his decisions on evidence. Having said that he is not bound by having to know exactly what it will look like, or how they will measure success etc… and this is a very  exciting and creative way to lead.  Dominic likes to take the best practice from all aspects of the corporate world, the arts and education and see how he can adapt them to lead Riverdale forward.

Character Strengths is something Dominic is very interested in embedding in the schools culture. He is even prescribing the 7 strengths he would like to promote within the context of the school.

Interestingly Riverdale are working very closely with the next school I was going to visit. I say it’s interesting because the demographics that the two schools draw from could not be more different.

The KIPP College Prep School of New York

The KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) School in New York is in The Bronx and the majority of their student body are entitled to free school meals. The KIPP school organisation admit children on the basis of a lottery. Parents enter their child’s name into the ballot and hope they get drawn. They too are looking at embedding character strengths into their education, but the majority of what they do is based on academic rigour.

KIPP base a lot of their educational philosophies on research that shows that kids from poor socioeconomic backgrounds actually improve at a greater rate than their middle class peers whilst in school. It is at home, or during the holidays that they regress so much they appear to stand still their entire school career.

To counter this, a typical school day at KIPP runs from 7.30am – 5pm, with Saturday School and a Holiday program. The thinking behind this being by keeping them in school longer they will not regress as much.  Another aspect of KIPP that would differ from other school is that every lesson follows the same format, with teachers submitting their lesson plans a week in advance for approval.

Although the KIPP schools have some detractors, the stats at the KIPP College Prep would indicate they are doing something right with 90% of their students going to college with a 30-40% graduation rate, compared with less than 5% of other kids in their neighbourhood.

Dr Jane Gillham & Mark Linkins

Jane Gillham is at the forefront of resiliency and depression prevention research. She works a lot with Martin Seligman and Karen Reivich, so to sit down with Jane and discuss her work, as well as aspects of what I am up to was a great opportunity for me.

I also met with Mark Linkins who was in residence at Geelong Grammar for 6 weeks training their staff in the methods of positive psychology. He now works with the school board close to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania delivering positive psychology in schools.

We look at the different methods of including positive psych in education, whether it can be done via a curriculum or whether it just needs to underpin the school as a whole. We agreed that for both to happen is the ideal.

It was very exciting for me that both Jane and Mark were very impressed with the stuff going on at my own school, and are very keen to work together in the future in developing school based programs. Given the people who Jane and Mark have the opportunity to work with on a day-to-day basis, it’s very encouraging to hear that they think I have something to offer them! If only my French teacher could see me now… 🙂

Only one week of this tour to go! I’m off to Canada next week to meet with Tayyab Rashid who is another international figure in the world of positive psychology and education. It’s forecast to be MINUS ELEVEN in Canada when I arrive… To finish my tour I fly back into the States to meet with Dr Howard Cutler, author of the Dalai Lama’s Art of Happiness series, before getting back to Sydney just in time for Christmas… I hope it’s warmer there!

Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…

Social Justice Youth

“We are the people, Sir”

As I battled with my N’Awlins BBQ shrimp, I’d been chatting to Bobby a 23-year-old former high-school footballer who worked behind the bar. We’d been talking about American sport and the college football and basketball systems when I asked what, with the benefit of hindsight, was a pretty clumsy question;

“So, what happened to all the people who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina?”

He fixed me with a stare and said, “We are the people, Sir.”

Bobby went on to tell me about his experiences on Monday 29th August 2005 and the subsequent five years.

He spoke of waking in the night to find water pooling at the bottom of his bed – he slept on the second floor. His floor gave way as he tried to escape and in pitch black he somehow managed to get out of his house. He says he can’t really remember how he managed to get to a building that was high enough and big enough to cling to through the night with around 10-20 others, some of whom were unable to hold on all night. When he was “rescued” he was subjected to the unimaginable conditions in the Superdome.

He spoke of how he fought to protect his sister, who, miraculously, he had found by searching the area of the Superdome for hours.  I became immediately aware that as foreigners we had received the sanitised version of events through the news. A lot of what we heard was “conjecture” that authorities rallied to suppress or deny. According to Bobby, the authorities treated them as criminals rather than victims. There was no sanitation, babies had no nappies, some people had brought food enough for a day or two.

Bobby and his sister were bussed out of town a week or so later, but they had no idea of what they would face in the months and years ahead.

From other conversations I have had during my time in New Orleans it is clear that the authorities failed their people in almost unbelievable ways. Take for example the family who left their home when the mandatory evacuation orders were given. They took food and clothes for a few days. The house they lived in was in one of the poorer parts of town, where it was common practice for the house to be passed down from generation to generation. No-one could afford to pay for conveyancing or other legal processes. The house was fully paid for, but the “legal” owner had passed away many years before. This became an insurmountable issue when the current family came to apply for relief fund… they had no legal entitlement. This was compounded by the fact that when they came to try to enrol their kids back into school, the State Department would only admit those who had official papers documenting who they were and where they were from. They couldn’t re-apply for their documents because the State Dept had been hammered and remained off-line for months. When they finally got back online, they were overwhelmed by the volume of people needing new documentation and the processes involved in this. The majority of people in New Orleans had experienced hurricane warnings and evacuations numerous times before and always returned a couple of days later none the worse. Why would this time be any different? Food and clothes enough for a few days at most would suffice. I can’t think of a worse case of the boy who cried “Wolf.”

As a result, thousands of children and teenagers were refused entry to school. Denied what most of us consider a fundamental right. This compounded the fact that many of the poorer community in New Orleans already felt disenfranchised. This only affirmed their feelings.

Youth crime is rife, particularly among young black males. The aftermath of Katrina is still felt across the city today. Of the 24 stories that I have read on the front page of the local paper over the last 4 days, 19 relate to shooting homicides, with 17 of those involving teenagers.

The Youth Empowerment Project

This is where the Youth Empowerment Project step in. They run many programs across the city with limited funding but a seemingly infinite supply of energy, compassion and dedication.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Jerome, Glenis, Darrin and Kathleen from YEP. We discussed how they work in a number of ways with the youth of New Orleans. They work with predominantly young males aged 8-24, although many young women access the educational programs. They focus on preventative mentoring (to avoid going to prison) with kids as young as 8. They also run a reintegration program for juveniles who have been in the prison system and are out on parole, or bail. They run an educational program that aims to help the youth graduate highschool. The state school system won’t allow kids to graduate each year unless they pass a test, consequently some 18 year olds are still in Year 8. They also run the NOPLAY Program (New Orleans Providing Literacy to All Youth.)

 They focus on the kids as individuals, look at their strengths and try to provide a context for them. A lot of 8, 9 or 10 year olds are engaged in very “adult” activity. Treating them as “kids” may not work, although it was very interesting to hear that these hardened youngsters came alive when given the opportunity to do the simplest of things like scavenger hunts or having a movie night.

“How can my little boy be happy?”

I had the good fortune to be able to spend some time at the YEP afterschool drop-in centre. There I met some fantastic kids. We played computer games, and watched music videos. I also met one of the parents, Jane who spent time talking to me about her struggles. She told me she had to put her then 2-year-old son in a basket and try to float him down the street in the raging torrents. She told me how she had to stop him running over to the dead bodies that appeared to be everywhere. She told me how when she was finally able to return to the Lower 9th Ward where she lived, there was nothing left, and no-one appeared willing to help. She gets by on a few dollars a day. Her now 7-year-old son J’Michael, who I had been playing X-Box with, doesn’t understand why they have no lights up for Christmas, or any electricity for that matter. Jane started to cry as she said kids are meant to be happy at Christmas… “How can my little boy be happy?” she asked, then she added, “Thank God for these people here…”

During my stay I attended a fundraiser for YEP and met with two 18 year olds who had been mentored since they were paroled from the Juvenile Justice system at age 14.  They spoke of how the YEP team always went that extra mile. They spoke of them with such love that is often reserved only for the closest of family members. One of the boys is now working as an assistant PE teacher at the KIPP Primary School. He is planning on studying Information Technology at college.

The Sojourner Truth Academy

During my time in New Orleans I also went to Sojourner Truth Academy a Charter School (a charter school is essentially run by a board who have put a tender into the state dept) that is only 3 years old. Charter Schools appear to be the main way in which New Orleans is attempting to rebuild its education system. 

This was my first experience of having to walk through a metal detector to go to school. I sat in the reception area and saw first hand the challenges that the staff face. They handled the attitudes from students and parents alike with a grace and dignity that belied the fact that many of them were fresh out of college as Teach for America Corps members. I was able to sit with the two school social workers (akin to Australian school counsellors) Albert and Heather and we discussed the challenges that students, parents and teachers face in a school like this.

One thing that both the workers were  adamant on was that with regard to depression; it wasn’t a case of who had it and who didn’t; it was more a case of how badly did everyone suffer from it. They struggle every day with workloads that most of us would crumble under, but what was noticeable was the passion and dedication that poured out of Albert and Heather, as well as everyone I met who was involved with YEP.

A Tale of Two Cities

To be honest, I was completely unprepared for what I was going to face in New Orleans. I had decided to come here to see how they are addressing depression since Katrina. I felt a fraud very quickly… turning up and essentially saying, “Gee… it must have been tough for you, how’d you cope?”

The fact is, I’m not sure they are coping; they are just doing whatever it takes to get by; to try to give their kids a better shot than they got. Sure, the New Orleans you see on the TV travel shows is going great, and they need to perpetuate this in order to finance its regeneration but this side of New Orleans is only a small part of it.

I have spent my time here on the other side, and it has been the singular most humbling, inspiring and emotionally draining few days of my professional career.

I want to thank the teachers, youth workers, social workers and locals I met here who were so open to meeting with me and sharing their stories.

Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…

Education Wellbeing

Study Tour | Week 3 Wrap

“Would you mind if I included some of your work in my new book?”
“I beg your pardon?” I replied.
Again came the question… “Would you mind if I included some of your work in my new book? We’re taking it on a forty city tour of the States in March next year…”

Dr John Yeager and I had been discussing the work that Ray Francis and I have been doing at Emanuel School and he wondered if we’d allow him to include it in a new book he is co-authoring with Dave Shearon and Sherri Fisher. Together the three of them are Positive Psychology Pioneers having studied under Martin Seligman in the inaugural 2006 Masters of Applied Positive Psychology course at University of Pennsylvania. They are also the founders of Flourishing Schools.

Needless to say, Ray and I are very happy to contribute to this book. 🙂

John Yeager hosted my visit to Culver Academy in Indiana. In my preparation for my study tour everyone  I spoke to, particularly in the States, said I had to visit Culver and meet with John. The work Culver does is nationally and internationally renowned. I had the privilege of spending two days with John, and during that time we discussed many aspects of the work he has spent his entire career pioneering, as well as the work I am embarking on. I met with numerous staff who John has trained and saw first hand the positive effect it has on the faculty and the students. Culver host many visitors from all over the world, and my visit was incredibly well facilitated. From the 7.15 breakfast meeting with the Dean of Academics, meeting with the staff  who drive strengths and positive psychology at Culver, as well as the students who benefit from it; my day culminated with a 5.30 meeting with the Mental Health Councillor in which he introduced me to Sand Tray Therapy. The psychologists amongst you will have more of idea about what this is about, but it certainly looked interesting. I saw every facet of Culver’s “strengths-based” approach to education and it has already spawned new ideas in my thinking. It was an inspiring (but cold) time in Indiana, and I’d like to think it won’t be my last visit to Culver, although I may go in Summer next time!

At the time of writing this I’m into my second day in New Orleans.

My time here is proving to be the most profound and moving experience of my professional career. As such, I will be making a separate post devoted to my time in New Orleans in a couple of days… to those who sign up for email updates I apologise for the “double-hit” you’ll get from me this week 🙂

Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…

Education Wellbeing

Study Tour | Week 2 Wrap

Antartic-like weather conditions, London traffic and a GPS navigation unit that appeared to have scant regard for road rules did little to detract from what has been a truly inspirational week for me. It proved to be a week of contrasts in terms of facilities, approaches and demographics, but the common theme that everyone I met with had at the centre of their educational philosophy was student wellbeing.

Wellington College

Wellington College is one of the top public schools in England. They have a world-renowned wellbeing curriculum. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Head of Wellbeing, Ian Morris. It’s always good to engage with people who are on the same page as you, and as I said to Ian, it’s even better when that person is a few pages ahead of you! Ian has pioneered the teaching of wellbeing to school students and I learnt a great deal from our chat. Ian has also written a book entitled, “Learning to Ride Elephants – Teaching Happiness and Well-being in Schools”

I look forward to working with Ian in the future.

John Donne Primary School

John Donne Primary School is in Peckham in inner city London. A far cry from the £GBP 30000 a year Wellington College. It was here that I had the pleasure of working with Jenny Fox Eades for the day. I observed and assisted (which was great for me), as she ran a couple of activities from her Celebrating Strengths program. It was the first time that she had run these activities in at John Donne, and it was interesting so see how well the students and staff received them. After spending the day working with Jenny, we then sat down and discussed her approaches to strengths based education and my goals for education. We also discussed how to affect change in schools, and she was able to offer me insights based on her years of experience implementing the Celebrating Strengths program. These insights were invaluable.

Springfields School 

Last week when I was at the Sir Ken Robinson talk, I bumped into a bloke, James Lynch, who I played rugby league with 14 years ago. Turns out he is now deputy head of Springfields School in Wiltshire, a nationally renowned residential school for children with Emotional Behaviour Disorders, who have been excluded from a number of schools, or who are on the autism spectrum. He invited me along to see what it was all about. One of the key criteria for students to attend Springfields is they need a Special Educational Needs Statement. Around 2% of all students in the UK have a statement. Over 90% at Springfields do. They offer a 24 hour program focusing on what the children can do, and run a number of vocational and sporting programs aimed at building the self-image of these otherwise disaffected children. James and I discussed the notion of establishing a partnership, where at the most basic level would involve the exchange of ideas, programs and expertise. 

Grange Primary School

Grange is a primary school consisting of 440 students in Nottingham. It could be the most famous primary school in the UK. It is often mentioned when talking about leading edge education. It has been the subject of debate in the Houses of Parliament and features in a number of books. I read about it in Sir Ken Robinson’s book “The Element”. I met with the current headteacher Mike Hannon, a fellow Mancunian and Manchester City fan, and as well as spending a great deal of time talking to me about school leadership, he essentially gave me run of the school; to go where I wanted and talk to who I wanted. Going on Friday proved to be a master stroke as this is when they run the Universities program. A day of workshops where staff run workshops based on their interests and/or passions and the children get 7 weeks to have a go at something that may not otherwise be covered in a school curriculum. This runs alongside other initiatives such as the school radio and TV stations, a student-run tuck shop and student council that appears to have a genuine say in the running of the school. This whole program is called Grangeton. The school also strives to run a cross curricular curriculum, where everything is linked so the children can see relevance in everything they do. It was a pleasure to spend time with the kids at Grange, who without exception said they loved University workshops and really enjoyed school.

Richard Gerver

I was also very fortunate to receive a phone call at the start of the week from the headteacher who initiated the programs at Grange 8 years ago. Richard Gerver has worked as an educational advisor with the British Government, was the British Head Teacher of the Year 2005 and now speaks all around the world to conferences of educators and business leaders. He also works very closely with Sir Ken Robinson… and on Monday, Richard gave me a call seeing if I fancied a beer with him after visiting Grange.

What followed was 2 hours of inspiration. I spoke to Richard and his assistant Les Seymour (who still works at Grange) about how to achieve a meaningful educational experience for students. We talked about the challenges Richard faced and the likely challenges I will face. Les seemed to be the logistics man, while Richard the visionary. I was so appreciate of their time and I look forward to chatting to them again soon. Richard will be in Australia in June 2011 speaking at education conferences. I’ll put the details on here when they come to hand and I cannot recommend strongly enough going to hear him speak… take a sicky if need be! 🙂 

To sum up this week in a few words would prove impossible. The most exciting thing to come out of this week is that all the people I met have urged me to keep in contact and they are keen to offer their expertise where they can in my future work… it’s been an amazing two weeks in the UK!

On Sunday, I fly to Indiana where I will spend time with John Yeager at Culver Academies, before spending a few days in New Orleans working with the Youth Empowerment Project – an organisation that work with the most at-risk youths in New Orleans.

Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…

Education Wellbeing

Study Tour | Week 1 Wrap

                                           It has been a wet, cold but brilliant first week of my tour. I started off in Scunthorpe, one of the most socially deprived areas in the UK. I went to visit two primary schools, Henderson Avenue and Frodingham Infants to see first hand Jenny Fox Eades’ Celebrating Strengths program in action. Having a fairly good theoretical knowledge of the program, I was amazed to see just how well it had been embedded into these schools. In the past I have debated with teachers whether primary aged kids would be able to comprehend the language and concepts that make up the program. In the past some teachers have said to me they felt that Year 5s may struggle with it. Well that was blown out of the water as I witnessed Year 1 and 2 children describing each other as persistent, or courageous and speaking confidently about their own strengths. At Frodingham in particular the program was front and centre of what they did right from the first day of Nursery (UKs equivalent of Kindergarten). If this program can work in Scunthorpe, then I believe it has the potential to work anywhere. If I had been teleported into the school, with no idea of its location, I would not have thought I was in an area with one of the highest levels of crime and unemployment in the country. Any primary teacher interested in a strengths based approach in schools should get in contact with Cath Lloyd (Henderson Ave) or Judith Gray (Frodingham Infants).

Another area of social deprivation is Gateshead in the country’s north-east. Here Bede Community Primary School run a “Creative Curriculum” which Headteacher Nick Anderson wrote in order to make the curriculum as relevant as possible to the students under his charge.

Sir Ken Robinson

Today I had the privilege of meeting and listening to Sir Ken Robinson. As well as listening to an inspirational talk, I was able to chat with him for a few minutes. I put to him my belief that; an education system based on children being able to identify, explore and enhance their passions and strengths (regardless of academia) would help address the depression epidemic that the World Health Organisation is predicting will be the biggest threat to the health of our current Year 7s by the time they are 30 years old. Sir Ken agreed with me… “Absolutely, without question.”  The writers of the Australian national curriculum must ensure that there is room to move within its framework so as to meet the needs of this century not the past two! And if they don’t listen to a Knight then who will they listen to?

What’s next?

Tomorrow I will return to the school I graduated from in 1995.  I have been invited to present an assembly to the current Year 11s on how to find and use their strengths. I’ll also use the opportunity to personally thank one of the teachers who had the biggest influence on me during my time at school.

Next week I’m off to the prestigious Wellington College to see their acclaimed wellbeing curriculum,  as well as meeting Jenny Fox Eades and seeing her work with a school in London and I’m going to a school that is run like a town… I’ll tell you more next week !

Sign up for email updates (top-right of screen), share with your friends or connect on Facebook or Twitter…