During last Friday's Professional Development Day, many of Mulgrave's faculty members became students once again. Some also had the opportunity to facilitate sessions. Topics of study ranged from assessments to computational thinking, as well as a wide variety of subject area specifics. Here's a glimpse into the day of two of our teachers:
Mental Health First-Aid
By Jack McKillop, Outdoor Education
In my role at Mulgrave, I regularly lead groups of students into physically challenging and remote backcountry terrain. Although First-Aid incidents are very rare, it goes without saying that an Outdoor Education teacher should be qualified in Wilderness First-Aid. Less commonly understood are the psychological challenges posed by expeditions into the outdoors, and indeed it is often in facing and overcoming these challenges that many of our students find the most satisfaction and reward from their Outdoor Education experiences. In the same vein as physical First-Aid, mental health crises are rare on our expeditions, but it is important to be able to deal with any that may arise. With this in mind, I spent the professional development day becoming qualified as a mental health first-aider, along with ten other members of Mulgrave’s staff.
The intention of the course was to help demystify mental health related issues and provide some of the tools necessary to support and guide students in need. The course was provided by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and is nationally recognised. Simply being in the outdoors is proven to have a very positive effect on mental health, and I now feel better equipped to help students who perhaps have the most to gain from spending time in nature.
ISABC Professional Development Day
By James Gardiner, PHE
This year, I applied to ISABC to lead a roundtable discussion for the PE community. Knowing my session was going to be at the end of the day, I thought it was important to not just sit and talk about a few topics with thirty teachers, administrators and coaches, but rather to have these active leaders moving throughout the sessions.
After starting with a topic to which everyone could contribute, we broke into smaller groups (mixing educators and coaches from different schools who work with all age groups) to discuss and summarize our thoughts regarding some of the most current and interesting topics in our subject. It was great to hear how others are using technology, providing opportunities for student advocacy, exploring health and wellness, finding authentic ways for providing and using feedback, among others. Each group moved around the room, checking in at each station, where they could read the previous groups' ideas, then add their own input.
At the end of the session, we came together to see where everyone thinks PHE is heading in the future. Here, connections with other educators were made and this provided an opportunity to share our thoughts on some of the current hot topics in our subject area.