Values Education: Where to Start

Belinda Baxter (The King’s Preparatory School)

Science Centre, Lab 5

With the goal of best preparing a boy for the curve balls in life and to set him up with social and emotional competencies for flourishing and resilience, a core set of skills and attitudes is promoted within a scaffolded and caring environment with trusted adults who will bridge the emotional gaps. We want our boys to be able to stand firm despite challenges, setbacks and delays, to be able to rebound and move forward efficiently and bravely. We believe that active participation in opportunities that harness values growth, self-regulation, problem-solving, risk-taking, decision making for pro-social behaviours, leadership, diversity, and relationship skills are necessary for healthy character development and holistic wellbeing. In this workshop, delegates will have the opportunity to hear how the TKS Prep School Wellbeing and Character team has created and implemented a Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Scope and Sequence using the School Values as a core driver.

Building Resilience Through Building Identity

Patrick Ell (The King’s School Preparatory School)

Science Centre, Lab 7

As part of the International Boys’ Schools Coalition’s 2018 Action Research cohort, I completed a course of action research in my Year 5 classroom, the findings of which are presented in this workshop. The action was targeted at enabling students to reflect upon themselves and develop a clearer sense of self in order to build resilience for their transition into adolescence. The intervention focused on visual literacy skills and enabling students to use the increasingly ubiquitous medium of photography to produce a personal narrative that would help them engage with, and build, a sense of self. The action proved successful in that students reported being highly engaged and the learning outcomes were achieved. Students produced sophisticated and complex works of which they were proud.

Using Games to Build Connections and Relationships

Daniel Nilsson (The King’s School)

Science Centre, Lab 8

This workshop will look at how video and board games and their variations can be used both within and outside the classroom to build on the foundations of curriculum, build relationships, and help upskill boys for the modern world. This presentation will include practical examples of how to incorporate games into a school environment.

What’s the Opposite of Porn?

Collette Smart (University of Western Sydney)

Science Centre, Lab 9

By now schools recognise pornography as the elephant in the (class)room. Still largely unaddressed, it has been dubbed the main sex educator of this generation, leading to what experts refer to as, “a public health crisis.” In this session Collett Smart – psychologist, teacher and author – unpacks both research and practical ideas from the chapters on sex and pornography in her new book, They’ll be okay (Hachette). This session will bust some myths on what we think about boys and sex, as well as help schools address the effects of pornography in ways that boys will be open to hearing about.

Pedagogy with a Twist

Brendan Stewart (The King’s School)

South Walk Classrooms, S9

A trio of popular and successful class tasks that have proven to be exciting, engaging, hands-on, and meaningful for boys in Geography:

  1. Group-based term long activity, planning, peer-assessed vertical poster, market day. The sky is the limit (Civics and Citizenship)
  2. Sandbox AR – Augmented Reality, view the world from a different perspective. Visual and kinesthetic approach to learning and teamwork. Be dazzled. (Topography, Water Sheds and Drainage Basins)
  3. MacGyver Session – homemade projector, Geo-engineers and data miners work together to create a title-page with a difference. (Applicable to most content)

Knowing Your Superpowers: Thriving through Character Strengths

Steve Owen (The King’s School)

Science Centre, Lab 11

Do you know your signature character strengths, those strengths of character that you own, celebrate and regularly exercise? Is it love, curiosity, perseverance, zest or gratitude that you favour? This workshop will introduce you to 24 character strengths, as defined through the VIA Institute on Character, and explore how this can enhance wellbeing. In particular, you will consider your own strengths and begin to see the gifts that you contribute to your environment and everyday interactions. We will also discuss practical ways in which you can nurture a better understanding of strengths for the young people in your care, helping them to realise their superpowers and use them to thrive.

Boys and the Arts

Bradley Chapman (Saint Stephen’s College)

Science Centre, Lab 12

Across Australia, the enrolment of boys in arts-based subjects is significantly less than that of girls, at only 30% of total enrolments in any given year. This wide discrepancy is particularly troubling when we consider how well the arts serve boys’ biological, cultural and social needs. A subject like Drama, for example, involves tactile and emotional learning through physical exploration: all things with which boys naturally engage. So why are boys so underrepresented in the arts? Unfortunately, it is a culture of masculinity that isolates young men from the arts, and as educators we may be guilty of perpetuating this culture subconsciously. This workshop will examine how gender cultures can be shaped and unshaped to impact boys’ enthusiasm for the arts and will explore a research-based six-step model that has proven successful in increasing the enrolment of boys in Drama and the broader arts at several schools.

Invisible Bags, Cans and Rubik’s Cubes: How to Crack a Boy’s Context

Mark Story (Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview)

Science Centre, Lab 14

Some people believe Brad Pitt is the best actor in the world. However, after nearly 15 years as an educator, I believe that boys are the best actors in the world. They each carry a story or a set of experiences. Sadly, some are very delicate and hidden away deep down. Happy boys learn and want to feel valued – it’s that simple. Yet, it is so difficult when we don’t understand their context. So, how do we crack a boy’s context? Come along to find out…

Making Global Citizens: The Value of Language Learning in Boys’ Education

Suzanne Hill (The King’s School)

Science Centre, Lab 15

If we are preparing our students to succeed in a global context, languages are the key to cultural understanding, identity, and opportunity. In this workshop Suzanne will explore how to advocate for languages education in an Australian context through consideration of the cognitive benefits, travel, opportunities to connect with students of different cultures, and the tertiary options afforded to students of languages. 

Finding the Narrative: Teaching English in Boys’ Schools

Cassandra Lum, Gretel Dougherty, Simon Clarke, Jason Orellana (The King’s School)

Science Centre, Lab 16

A workshop for teachers who are new to coordinating roles, with a particular focus on the new English Syllabus. This workshop will unpack the expectations, challenges, successes, and highs and lows of being in a coordinating role and working in a team that supports the academic rigour of a curriculum that particularly engages boys. Through an examination of different models of communication, this workshop aims to provide practical advice that will assist in building positive and professional relationships. Further, the workshop will centre its leadership discussion on the new English curriculum, and consider the skills that will subsequently assist to provide the best learning opportunities for students, while utilising one of the most important resources in the faculty, the teachers.