Boys, mental health, footy and getting the conversations started.
Recently I have been working to curate resources for local high school staff to help them access and use up to date, engaging, real life content and digital tools to enhance their learning and teaching practice. Working with teachers to look at what next in terms of content and topics a young male teacher spoke of wanting to use his Year 7 English and Humanities classes to explore mental health - though he was not sure where to start or even if this was suitable. This teacher wanted to take all the boys whilst another teacher took all the girls for a series of workshops. Part 1 of the journey involved curating some resources suitable for 12 year old males to get the thinking rolling. So we started with the recent Mitch Clark, AFL player for Geelong Cat's. Clark quit football in 2014 struggling with depression but has returned. It was reported that in April 2015, Clark received on field sledging in relation to his mental health. We used the connect - extend - challenge scaffold for our planning.
Using the Learni.st board (now deleted) we set out a series of videos, Instagram posts, news articles and other relevant resources that the students can explore. They can target a media and lens to look at the issue from based on personal interest. The students could pick 3 resonating images, words or statements and add them to the class padlet anonymously.
Using the anonymous, resonating ideas from the connect phase teachers can build the next phase of the learning - in this case it pointed us in the direction of what mental health actually was - and why is was viewed as it was in media and sport. Following a class circle time discussion with the class split into 2 smaller sub groups (with norms decided by the group, see left), the students could develop an exploration based on a connect idea that resonated with them. They then create an infographic using Piktochart that summarised their findings and post these online for an e walk and gawk feedback loop. Piktochart is free (limited projects) and helps students organise visual information. A time frame of 70 minutes to do this works well if they are only required to use one source. See an example to the right.
The final phase to share with the learners is the challenge stage - in this case they will be working in teams to explore an initiative or part of one that targets mental health in schools and they will be responsible for working to making it visible and alive in the school. This section is still in development but stay tuned!
Some groups are already exploring the resources at;