'They're hope machines': How schools and teachers can support distressed students - Podcast

'They're hope machines': How schools and teachers can support distressed students - Podcast

The hellish summer bushfires and the current COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a year most of us would rather forget. But one group, in particular, might find 'moving on' slightly more difficult than the rest of the population: students. Not only have the above events and school closures disrupted their lives, they, like many of us, are experiencing bouts of trauma and distress. To understand these issues more and what schools and teachers can do to improve student wellbeing, Campus Review spoke to Professor Helen Cahill from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Cahill and her colleagues recently published a report on the subject, titled 'Natural disasters and pandemic: supporting student and teacher wellbeing after a crisis.' In this podcast, Cahill underscores the centrality of the school in helping students deal with distress and trauma. As she says, “Often for children it’s their school teachers who are the only other significant adults in their lives." Cahill also calls schools "hope machines for the future" and places where students can escape the worries of the world and focus on routine learning to help ground them. The podcast also includes excellent tips for maintaining both student and teacher wellbeing, such as acknowledging good work by students and naming and modelling effective coping practices for students when they feel distressed and overwhelmed. For teachers, Cahill urges them "to take their foot off the pedal" when required in the learning environment, be realistic about what is achievable, and try not to internalise any blame and shame. After all, "teachers are first responders" as Cahilll rightly points out.

Duration: 13 min

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