Every year St John’s staff undertake professional development in many different fields relating to education and student outcomes. This term, there was a whole school focus on ‘EXECUTIVE SKILLS in the CLASSROOM: Organising the Disorganised Child’ by Dr Anna Bortoli.
Dr Bortoli’s teachings help us to understand that many of our children struggle with getting organised, exercising self-control, and getting on with others. Some students seem to need constant supervision and help far beyond the point their peers are beginning to manage certain tasks on their own. Child development research shows that many kids who have the brain and heart to succeed lack or lag behind in crucial “executive skills”. These skills are especially challenging for students with ASD, ADHD or Developmental Delay. These executive skills are what we use to plan, organise, strategise, pay attention to and remember details, and manage time and space. Children who have deficient executive skills often have trouble getting started on tasks, get distracted easily, lose papers or assignments and forget to hand in homework. Staff learned how to introduce practical skills and evidence base strategies to address independence, planning and organisation that are fundamental skills in today’s classrooms.
Additionally, teacher representatives from each year level attended a workshop on ‘Growth Mindsets’ with James Anderson. Both of these areas can have a significant influence on student learning and are instrumental in helping students to achieve greater wellbeing.