Social media plays an increasingly active part in the lives of our students and it seems as though they are more connected than ever before. Building connections on social media does not require the same skills needed to establish and maintain positive group dynamics in real life. During a recent Rite Journey training course, staff had to participate in a number of challenging activities over two days. We were given tasks that seemed impossible to achieve at first and had to persist and problem solve as a team to overcome initial failed attempts. At the end of the two days, staff rated it as the best professional development that we had done recently. Our Year 12 students were also very positive after they had experienced similar group challenges during their leadership weekend.
Building positive connections in a group requires us to become more aware of the needs of the group and how our contributions can set others up to flourish or flounder. We learn how to sense what the others in the group need and how our diversity can strengthen the group dynamics without distracting from the common goal as we support each other to step out of our comfort zones. Overcoming obstacles as a group builds respect and improves self-esteem of everyone in the group. These types of experiences help us to edit our contributions to add diversity to the group dynamic without distracting or undermining others. William Glasser points out that "the world is filled with lonely, frustrated, angry, unhappy people who are not able to get close to anyone who is happy. Their main social skills are complaining about, blaming, and criticizing others, hardly the way to get along well with anyone." Social media provides a platform for people who have not yet mastered good relational skills and struggle to feel a strong sense of belonging. These people and are likely to blame others for their unhappiness.
The conversations that I had with leading pastoral practitioners in New Zealand and Australia over the last few weeks have once again highlighted the importance of camps to build confidence and expose students to a healthy degree of risk taking in order to build real connections and resilience.
Here is a link to an insightful article: https://growingleaders.com/blog/3-mistakes-we-make-leading-kids/
Article by Marcelle Calitz – Deputy Principal (Pastoral)
By Marcelle Calitz – Deputy Principal (Pastoral)