Saturday, 26 March 2011
For years now I've been passionate about emotional intelligence. Something I believe should be taught in schools from the onset. Cause how can anyone learn anything unless they feel safe and secure in themselves?
Recently in the town I live in, one side of town has been working together within all the schools, so from 4 -18 years, with joined up thinking about a whole person education.
There has also being a project launched at county level to look at children's mental health/wellbeing. One of the heads in the collaboration has been instrumental in getting education for teachers about how to; spot,deal and sign post children with difficulties in this area, from an educational perspective. So to be able to identify what teachers can and can't do, and how they seek appropriate help.
I was asked as part of this project to write a mental health policy for all of the schools in the collaboration. As part of my fact finding prior to writing, I requested that I should go and interview the six headteachers, or in the senior schools the lead teacher responsible for pastoral care.
It is thought, that we are now one of the first areas in the country to actually have a mental health policy for schools, and it has been decided that I will present it to all heads in the autumn term. I will also get to present my findings from interviewing the headteachers.
This is where I've got passionate. What I found was they don't have enough emotional support. It is by it's nature a very isolating job, it has to be, there is so much confidential information that cannot by it's content be talked about with colleagues. And depending on their relationship with the chair of governors, they may not get the emotional support they actually need. So I think there is an opening for someone to be able to offer that.
So this week, I've had a meeting with the two heads responsible for this mental health project about future sustainability of the project. I suggested that not only do heads need that extra support, but also teachers themselves need to learn about self esteem, stress management, and other areas of psychological importance. Because I believe that it has to start from the top down, not the bottom up. Children are blank canvasses and part of their security as human beings comes from the relationships they form in schools with staff there.
This will have to be sold to teachers, not as, that any one individual person actually needs it, more that if they have an understanding of how people tick psychologically then it will enable them to be better teachers. A very delicate balance needs to be achieved. As people will find this threatening if they think it is directed at them, which of course it is, but subtlety is the name of the game.
Result of this meeting it that I've been asked to deliver this, the heads support if they decide they want it, and the education of teachers about personal psychology.
This is what I have wanted to achieve, since I did a training day for a whole school staff about 8 years ago, and found out how much they don't know and really do need to know about personal psychology!
To begin with I will only work with staff who are interested in this area, which could be the three heads who think what I'm proposing is a great idea, or it could be a hundred staff! Time will tell. But which ever it is, if I can have an impact on the education of one child, that stops that child becoming someone who in later life has to resort to seeing a professional like me, then I'll be happy.
Preventative work is surely what should happen always, whether it's in relation to our psychology or other area of increasing worry like weight issues. It is a sad testament to British society that the average size of British women has done up to a size 16 from size 12 ( US- 12 and 8 I think) Size 16 is not healthy even if it is average. But that's a discussion for another day