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Going For Gold

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Going For Gold – Valuing Positive Choices

School holidays provide a valuable time for teaching staff, allowing us to catch up, reenergise and refocus. Our recent professional development day with Jenny Mosley centred on positive ideas and initiative, creating a team-based and affirming ethos that extends throughout the school.

This affirming culture is nothing new at St Joseph’s College and, from the moment a student joins us in Nursery right through to Sixth Form and on to our Alumni, we take the time to build their self-confidence, understanding what drives every individual to learn and what we can do as a team to help them to excel.

Rewarding students who extend our ethos and values into their day to day school life (and beyond) is key to raising self-esteem. Recognising those who have made the right decisions and who are working for the common good, as well as ability and effort, stimulates students to expand their own capacity for learning and prepares them with valuable life skills.

Jenny Mosley acknowledges that, in order to succeed at school and beyond, not only do children need to become academic learners, but also their whole-person development depends upon their abilities to deal flexibly with personal and interpersonal challenges.  In one study, three secondary schools who made promising developments in emotional literacy also reported improvements in areas like learning, academic standards, attendance, behaviour, relationships and improved staff well-being and retention (Lee, 2006).  In a review of studies on socio-emotional competence, the development of children’s social, emotional and behavioural skills have been linked to greater educational success, improvements in behaviour, increased inclusion, improved learning, greater social cohesion, and improvements in mental health (Weare and Gray, 2003).

It’s living our values which drive a real buzz of happiness and excitement to learn throughout the College, and the Prep School’s new ‘golden ticket’ system is certainly adding to that.

Always keen to extend and improve our systems, we have introduced a ‘jar of good choices’ within every class in the Prep School. Golden tickets are issued to students making a positive difference – whether in the learning environment or during lunch or break times – and these are exchanged for a marble for the class jar. Once the jar is full, the students can choose a reward for their class.

Visiting the Prep School following our half term break, I can see that jars are filling quickly as students compete to earn their class rewards. It’s heartening to see the next generation at St Joseph’s College recognising their peers for their unique abilities, supporting each other to achieve, and learning to be competitive and ambitious without being arrogant or judgemental. A true recipe for a golden future.

Dr Martin Hine, Vice-Principal

14 March 2017