Report from Adrienne Buckingham who was awarded the OBHS Foundation Teacher Scholarship for 2016.

By Adrienne Buckingham | Posted: Sunday July 2, 2017

As the Foundation Scholarship recipient, I have been able to take some incredible education opportunities to look at student wellbeing.

So far, I have attended the inaugural New Zealand National Conference for Positive Education lead by Dr. Lucy Hone and the 100% Project in Christchurch and visited Grant McKibbon, the Head of Positive Education, at King's College in Auckland. This was only the beginning of the journey.

This week was a big one for our students as boys, people and future adults. The school kicked off our first Assessment of Wellbeing in Education (AWE) Survey. The AWE is a psychologically validated assessment that we are using to look at the health of our whole school community; students and staff. Evidence suggests, optimum performance in academics, sports and any endeavour is rooted in positive wellbeing and strong mental fitness. The school is interested in observing, measuring and boosting our ‘population positivity’ and performance over time. The surveys are anonymous unless a user chooses to share his results. Boys who score low on wellbeing or high in anti-social areas are given the option of alerting the school. This alert is followed up by deans and our guidance counsellor.

Dr Damian Scarf, old boy and Psychology Lecturer at Otago University, came to the staffroom, junior assembly and senior assembly on Tuesday to talk about the importance of psychology and personal wellbeing, introducing the school’s new move to educate students to be confident, resilient men prepared for the stresses and challenges of our changing world.

Otago Boys’ is striving to be the best school for every individual student who chooses to walk through the archway. As the boys progress through life, achievements, sports teams, academics classes and relationships will come and go. Ultimately, the boys will be left with their own minds, hearts and character. We hope to educate our staff and students about how best to develop their own skills and strengths.

Through the right learning, hearts as strong as oak.

A great thing about the AWE is that there are related activities for the boys to use to develop their own mental fitness. Research shows that just by asking about wellness and having the conversation, we are improving our skills and own wellbeing. If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at: www.awesomeschools.com

Next term I'll be embarking on an accredited Certificate in Psychology and Wellbeing but should help continue the school's journey.