Wellbeing at AISM
Embedding Positivity, Optimism, Resilience and Mindfulness
In our quest to develop lifelong learners, the Australian International School Malaysia has in recent years updated aspects of our approach to student wellbeing to strengthen existing practices in relation to the School’s core values. Elements such as Positive Psychology and Mindfulness have become cornerstones for the ways in which we support our students in leading meaningful and fulfilling lives, cultivating what is best within them, and developing a sense of optimism towards life. Our Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) Curriculum embeds all of the below within the scope of the course, as well.
The School organises an annual Wellbeing Month, which engages students and teachers in a whole week of activities centred around Wellbeing. Students participate in lunch time activities and games, mindfulness exercises in class, breathing exercises, yoga, showing gratitude, check in with their peers during ‘RUOK?’ week, and many more activities.
Circle Time for younger students
Circle Time sessions run at least once a week, and enable the children to air concerns, talk through issues and consider the happiness of themselves and others, as well as personal health and development matters, in a safe environment. The children are taught to take turns and value the ideas of others. They are taught and practise the skills of collaboration: listening, pausing, questioning, and presuming positive intentions. They have an opportunity to reflect on the School’s core values and build relationships.
What Went Well for younger students
‘What Went Well’ sessions occur weekly. We give children an opportunity to reflect on the positives from their week and take these ideas home to discuss with their families. This is a core practice in our teaching of Optimism.
We have six trained teachers in Mindfulness and have embarked on developing a Mindful School community by integrating professional development and classroom practices around this. We are introducing a daily quiet time, where students are encouraged to consider their breathing, ‘temperature’ (emotions) and thinking patterns. Our older children have mindfulness diaries to help them monitor and track their emotions and objectively see the influences on their choices (perhaps diet, moments of conflict or stress). AISM aims to provide every student with a “toolkit” that allows them to focus their minds on the present in order to most effectively deal with the various challenges and lessons they experience each day.
In keeping with our Visible Learning approach, our children set goals throughout the term. All children set learning and character goals at the beginning of each term, and they are taught to set mini-SMART goals throughout the week for specific aspects of learning, including social development.
Positive Behaviour Management
Our teachers collaborate with the children at the beginning of the year to design their class’s behaviour management system. This allows the children to be directly involved in the rewards and sanctions in their class environment. In turn, this increases responsibility and incentives to work towards individual and team goals. It also provides the class with a shared language of learning and learning behaviour, so that a child can talk about any issues and concerns with confidence.
With the help of staff training and a shared language of learning, we are supporting our children to be more optimistic and to develop a resilient approach to life and learning, as well as a growth mindset.
As a Visible Learning school, AISM focuses on aspects of learning that have the greatest impact on our students’ academic, social and emotional growth. Focusing on the wellbeing of our students is an integral aspect of their overall learning process.