Home' Independence : Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 2009 Contents 18 Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 09
their entourage, and demonstrates
the importance of reaching out to be
supported and loved. There is a strong
message of faith and hope in the future
and in each other.
While the production itself delivers
important messages on wellbeing
and resilience, the process was just as
important. Instead of finding students to
fit a 'pre-packaged' show, the production
was built around the interests and
emerging talents of the students. Students
chose songs or songs were written to suit
them. While main responsibility for the
script was carried by Michael Allen, our
Head of Visual and Performing Arts, and
co-author Lara Watchman, staff worked
closely with students in the building and
fine-tuning of the script.
All productions tend to give great
enjoyment, but the community building
between staff, students and parents
resulting from this production has
been outstanding. The development of
students' talents in drama, dance and
music and the increase in confidence
and self-esteem in students through their
deep connection to the production and
control over so many aspects of it were
especially noticeable. The audiences were
The production is also memorable
because there were hardly any disruptions
to school life. For the first time this year
we allowed formal learning time for the
production, which we called a production
line. This sent a strong message to
students that what they are doing is
important and helped support in practice
the essential messages of the production.
Principal, St Brendan-Shaw College
St Brendan-Shaw College is interested in
allowing other schools to use the script of Six
Degrees. For further information contact the
College's Head of Visual and Performing Arts,
Michael Allen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about MindMatters visit
Tintern Schools, Ringwood
Tintern Schools educates more than 1200
boys and girls from Pre-Prep to Year 12
at its Tintern and Southwood campuses.
Skilling our students to be resilient
has always been a key focus at Tintern
Schools. After discussion with clinical
psychologist Andrew Fuller, we saw that
to develop targeted programs for students
and to measure the effectiveness of those
programs we first needed a benchmark
measure of students' resilience.
In February 2009 our Year 7 students
from both the boys' and girls' schools
took the Resilience Foundation's
The online test was administered and
its results analysed by Andrew Fuller.
Andrew is a Fellow at the Department
of Psychiatry and the Department of
Learning and Educational Development
at The University of Melbourne and has a
long association with the school and our
The test results, which were fed back to
all staff, were definitely something for
the whole school to feel proud of. Of the
nearly 200 students tested, 98 per cent
feel positive about their future and 97
per cent are being positively engaged at
As educators it is pleasing to see so many
of our students happy with the level of
teaching they are receiving. It is also
pleasing to note that no student identified
as feeling disconnected from the school.
The test revealed some unexpected results.
While in many schools it has been found
that boys are less resilient than girls, we
found a great similarity in results across
genders, including in the protective
factors (such as connection to family and
school). We also found the boys have a
great sense of empowerment.
Our Year 7 pastoral care team then came
together to discuss what areas the testing
showed could benefit from targeted
programs and how this could best be
done at the different campuses.
It was decided to target leadership, pro-
social behaviours and social skills. While
the test results across the two schools were
very similar in regard to empowerment,
social skills and relationships, the pastoral
care team devised two very different
programs to meet the unique requirements
of each campus.
St Brendan-Shaw College students as rock band the 'Six Degrees'.
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