Online Webinars Can Benefit Everyone!

onlineAt Pathways to Resilience Trust we believe that great teachers are those who are always looking to improve and develop their teaching skills. It is important to be able provide support, training and professional development to them to help them to continually improve as teachers.

For teachers there is the frustration of trying to attend professional development programs around class schedules and personal commitments. Lack of training and support for teachers and facilitators can have a negative impact on even the best programs.

For regional, rural and remote schools it is even more frustrating for teachers. As Jo Jones Laifoo from Gordonvale State School has said “Working in regional Queensland has its benefits – beautiful scenery and great style but it can be professionally isolating.”

This is why Pathways to Resilience provides both face-to-face and online training sessions. For anyone who has never participated in an online webinar – it is an interactive online group meeting. The typical webinar lets everyone see and hear the facilitator, along with being able to view whatever is on facilitator’s screen and the facilitator can share videos and PowerPoints. People can interact through voice, video and also type responses if they don’t have access to a computer with a microphone (or are feeling shy).

All you need is a computer, Internet Connection and ideally a video camera and microphone. You don’t need to install anything special on your computer, just connect 5-10 minutes prior to a session so your computer can automatically download and run the webinar client.

The feedback from these sessions has been fantastic. Gail Barker from North Lakes State College said “As the college facilitator I have been very impressed with the organisation of the training delivery.” The Gordonvale State School’s principal committed the entire school the Fun Friends and Friends for Life programs because “…staff can access training and resources [online]…”

To learn more about our training schedule including online and face-to-face training visit our training and development page http://www.pathwaystoresilience.org/training-proffessional-development/.

(Anne Turnbull)

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Using Story Books to Promote Children’s Resilience

When we think about our childhood among many of our fondest memories are often books that we read or were read to us. This should not be surprising as story telling is a universal human feature that crosses cultures and spans human history. While often entertaining, stories have always existed to teach lessons.

story books

Children’s story books are an easily accessible set of tools we can use to help children to develop resiliency abilities and become more accurate and flexible thinkers. Also let’s face it, these books also help us when we find ourselves having to tackle the hard topics with our own children or the children that we work with.

By the age of three children are actively trying to make sense of the thing that are happening to around them and to them. Without guidance and help they often come to conclusions that are both inaccurate and damaging. If their parents are fighting they might come to the conclusion that is “cuz’ I’m a bad boy.” or when someone doesn’t want to play they might think it is because “she doesn’t like me anymore, she thinks I’m stupid.”

When children establish such negative beliefs and non-resilient thinking patterns this can result in a loss of self-worth along with other psychological and behavioural problems. Attempting to address these issues directly however is difficult as many children will not be able to clearly state the problem and either shrug their shoulders or say “I don’t know”. What is more, many of the topics and issues teachers and parents might find themselves uncomfortable talking about.

Children’s storybooks

  • Validate children’s experiences
  • Broaden their perspective
  • Generate positive solutions to everyday problems
  • Help children articulate their beliefs and imagine positive outcomes for the challenges they face
  • Promote accurate and flexible thinking by challenging children’s assumptions and biases.
  • Are an effective means to explore diversity and educate about differences. They are a great inclusionary tool.
  • Help children articulate their beliefs and imagine positive outcomes for the challenges they face.

Luckily for us story and picture books are a wonderful, interactive and pleasurable way to address these topics both indirectly and as a way to discuss the issues more directly. Children love listening to stories. Good stories offer multiple layers for learning and discussion – opportunities for readers and listeners alike to validate their experience, broaden their perspective, and generate positive solutions to everyday problems and provide a safe way to help children articulate their beliefs and imagine positive outcomes for the challenges they face. Story books can provide children with concrete examples of how accurate and flexible thinking makes a positive difference in the way a character handles adversity.

When we look at the core resiliency skills supported by research and the literature we see that story books can help children develop many of these. For example, story books increase the capacity to value and identify with one’s own culture and at the same time value the culture of others, a key resiliency skill. We can’t ignore that stories stimulate imagination of creative play, another critical ability associated with resilience in harsh circumstances.

Igniting children’ imagination with stories develops these key skills and facilitates communication. Children love to make up their own stories based on pictures in storybooks. We can say, “Let’s make up a story about the people in this picture.” When teachers use this technique, they are surprised and fascinated with children’s enthusiastic and creative responses. As children express their ideas about why the characters in the picture act in certain ways, teachers report gaining valuable insight into their beliefs about the world and this, in turn, helps them better understand children’s feelings and behaviour.

The long term impact of stories on children’s development can be attested to by adults who have triumphed over severe childhood adversity. These people often refer to literature as “an influential and satisfying companion in their childhood, because they felt the author was writing to them personally.”

Learn more about using children’s books to develop resiliency skills