In fact, wellbeing has always been a priority at BISP, we have just made people more aware of what exists behind the scenes and created a language to help identify areas of our lives that need development.
The pillars of Engage, Relate and Shine lie at the heart of the framework. This has been embraced by the whole school and the appointment of a coordinator here and a Jigsaw curriculum has been a huge move forward in creating continuity and consistency in transition across schools.
The messages students have received over the past year constantly refer to the fact that it is normal to experience both happiness and pain. The vision of the programme is to ensure all students understand that all emotions are normal and that we will all have discomfort at times. It is at this juncture we are supplying a tool kit to equip our students to navigate these challenges with grit and resilience. However, this is not enough! They need to be educated about the potential risks of social media, drugs, sex and alcohol to name but a few.
Bringing guests and experts into the school like Clive Leech and Nicole Gibson has helped validate this area and demonstrate to all its absolute importance in the educational sector. Although learning and academic achievement is vital, we can not be at our best mentally, physically, emotionally or socially without taking care of our overall wellbeing.
The development of coaching models to support students is fundamental to normalising emotions. It provides a safe place for students to talk with trained coaches about how they feel and to explore options and ways forward when facing challenges. This has been a major component of the framework and has been embraced by teachers, administrators, sports coaches and boarding parents across the school.
A focus on 24 Character Strengths has helped individuals to determine where they work best and how to ensure they use their strengths on a daily basis. Rather than focus on their weaker areas we prefer to engage with their strengths to ensure we are fully utilising the components of our character which motivate and inspire us.
The student voice and leadership programs have established a platform for our young leaders to meet and share ideas about relationships, engagement in learning and education about health and nutrition. It is so exciting to see students working together to create change and awareness in supporting one another. A growing awareness for the environment, educating on healthy lifestyle choices, planning school events and providing service all help students engage in their school experiences.
A major development of the framework has been exposing staff and students to mindfulness practices. Practicing awareness and learning to pause in our busy schedules is a wonderful and powerful way to help deal with the stresses of modern living. As a school we believe strongly that the development of a full mindfulness program will bring great benefits to everyone in our school community. Already training with staff and regular practice has seen this develop. We hope this will become the cornerstone to all of our wellbeing work and will provide anyone who is part of our community with life skills that will serve them wherever they go and well beyond BISP.
– Richard Stockings
Richard Stockings is Head of Student Wellbeing at British International School, Phuket - BISP. It is an English medium, coeducational, day and boarding school. Visit their website www.bisphuket.ac.th for more information.