Enjoying academic success and positive mental wellbeing doesn’t have to be a mutually exclusive thing for our kids. The experts from Australian International School share how this is possible.
Can a child score amazing academic results while maintaining a healthy mental wellbeing? Definitely! Unfortunately, there seems to be a misconception that academic success and good mental health are mutually exclusive. However, recent research has proven otherwise. Instead of being an ‘either-or’, educators believe that there’s a strong correlation between a child’s academic achievement and mental wellbeing. We heard it from the educators from Australian International School (AIS) themselves during our latest webinar, Helping children have the best of both worlds: Academic & wellbeing!
As winners of International School of the Year in the Singapore Education Awards 2022, AIS shared how using Positive Education contributes to its students’ overall success. The panellists also gave some tips on what parents can do at home to help their children achieve the best of both worlds.
Got a burning question and need the answer? Jump to the video section that’s relevant to you!
Speaker introductions – 1.07
What does “helping students achieve the best of both worlds” mean? – 3.18
Academics and mental wellbeing: complementary or competing? – .4.49
What is “academic wellbeing”? – 8.28
What is “positive education”? – 11.35
How are positive mental wellbeing and academic achievement linked? – 14.28
Academic wellbeing and life beyond school – 17.03
How do schools create an environment that encourages academic wellbeing – 19.16
How can parents help their children achieve the best of both worlds? – 22.15
Final thoughts from panellists – 24.50
Q & A – 27.11
This webinar features panellists from Australian International School (AIS), Singapore Education Awards’ Gold winner of International School of the Year 2022. They’ll be sharing about Positive Education, how this approach contributes to its students’ overall success, as well as what parents can do at home to help their children achieve the best of both worlds. You’ll also get to hear about the school’s unique take on academic wellbeing, and how it implements this.
Posted by HoneyKids Asia on Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Helping children achieve the best of academic and wellbeing: TOP INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS
1. Happy, healthy, safe, and engaged children
There are four areas in which we should strive to provide for children, namely: happiness, health, safety, and engagement. No one area is more important than the other. By focusing on all four areas at school and at home, children will be able to live their best life as students and individuals. When children feel safe, supported, and emotionally well, they are able to focus on their studies better and do well academically.
2. Grades aren’t the only things that matter
A focus on holistic education doesn’t mean that academic outcomes are excluded. What it really means is that a student’s success is more than just the grades they achieve. AIS’ educators believe that providing students with a well-rounded education not only contributes to better academic outcomes, but also its students’ general wellbeing and happiness.
3. Academic wellbeing and self-efficacy
By focusing on academic wellbeing, students will be able to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to a student’s belief in their ability to complete a given task or achieve a specific goal. Children with a strong sense of self-efficacy will ultimately be happier and more successful not just in school, but in university and beyond as well.
Helping children achieve the best of academic and wellbeing: YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED!
1. How do you get a child to look forward to learning and not merely as something they have to do?
Adam: As parents and educators, we do have to realise that there will be times when children will not be engaged or look forward to doing their ’work’. This is where building self-regulation skills in our children will help them. This not only helps them understand that they will sometimes come across things that they do not like, but also trains them to develop strategies to help them cope. It is equally important to talk about what they love learning and why, as these conversations are invaluable in helping children become independent learners.
2. What are some techniques that can help kids keep a positive mindset about learning, and techniques to overcome anxiety?
Karrie: There are many strategies that parents can use at home. Here are a few ideas:
- Encourage a growth mindset by encouraging children to view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.
- Help children set achievable goals, and celebrate their successes to help build their confidence.
- Teach them coping skills and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and visualisation, to help children manage their anxiety and stress.
- Promote healthy habits by encouraging children to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly.
In addition to encouraging and teaching children, parents should also model these behaviours to make these strategies more impactful.
3. Would childcare help a 12-month-old with social skills, and what harm can separation anxiety cause to both mother and child?
Adam: It’s as individual as each child. At AIS Infant Care, we use three words: love, care, and respect. We follow this not just in the programme we offer, but in the conversations we have with families who are thinking about long day care as well. These conversations are not only about the child and routines, but also the parents’ feelings and concerns about long day care. When the family and child are finally ready for long day care, we see such benefits for both children and families! Not only in terms of social skills and development across all milestones, but most importantly in the sense of joy from both the child and the family.
4. How can parents balance between allowing the child to be self-reflective and to learn from their mistakes, versus guiding and telling them the best course of action?
Karrie: Here are a few strategies parents can use to guide children to reflect and learn from their mistakes:
- Encourage self-reflection by asking open-ended questions such as “What did you enjoy about this experience?” “What did you find challenging?” “How does it feel to succeed?” “How does it feel when things do not go the way we want them to?”.
- Normalise mistakes by understanding that making mistakes is part of the learning process. You are encouraged to openly share mistakes you make and talk about your own learnings.
- Provide a supportive environment where children feel comfortable making mistakes. Praise their effort and progress, then talk through the process of learning. This can help develop an understanding that learning something new is hard and making mistakes is natural for all of us, at all ages.
Helping your child to develop reflection skills and a growth mindset will benefit them both now and in the future.
A big thank you to our panellists, Adam Patterson and Karrie Dietz from AIS…
Adam joined AIS in 2016 as the Head of Early Years, before being appointed Head of Elementary in 2019. Originally from Armidale, NSW, Australia, Adam has been working in International Schools for 30 years, in a variety of countries and educational settings. 2022 marks his 30th year in education. He has varied experience as a teacher and a school leader, from a young teacher beginning his career teaching English in France to teaching and leading schools in the United Kingdom, China, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Brazil.
Adam loves leading schools, his passion is developing positive relationships with everyone within the community, working with students as they grow, supporting teachers and staff so that they can reach their greatest potential, strengthening a connection between school and home, and fostering a positive school culture.
viaMs. Karrie Dietz, originally from the United States, serves Australian International School Singapore with more than 25 years of teaching and school leadership experience in six countries. Most recently, Karrie served as Founding Head of School at Stamford in Hong Kong, where she was committed to building a community focused on respect and academic excellence. Her leadership and curriculum experience extends beyond that of her time in Hong Kong, as a Principal at Stamford in Singapore and Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she facilitated school-wide curriculum development across four International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. Karrie was also the Director of Teaching and Learning in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Karrie is passionate about collaborating with others to empower children to reach their full potential and make a difference. In addition to being an experienced International Baccalaureate workshop leader, Karrie also serves on and leads Council of International Schools accreditation teams for schools in the Asia Pacific region. In addition, from April 2023, she will be on the Board of Trustee for EARCOS (East Asia Region Council of Schools). Karrie received Executive Certificates of Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Stanford University, MBA Essentials from the London School of Economics, International School Leadership from the Principals’ Training Centre and was awarded a Klingenstein Heads of School Fellowship from Columbia University. She completed her MA in Education from Hamline University, Minnesota, USA.