Accidental Counsellor Skills in Action

A short transcript using some of the skills from the Accidental Counsellor Training (ACT)

Introduction (Part One)

Amy (not real name) is a 19-year-old female who came to counselling at the urging of a friend (who came with her!). The italics indicate the skills from the ACT

R) Hi Amy, I know your not that keen to be here (all laugh) how do you hope this session can be of use to you? (Greeting & goal setting)

A) I don’t know how it would help…I guess I’d be feeling better.

R) If I could wave a magic wand and you were feeling better? What would be different? (Miracle question)

A) I’d have my confidence back. I would feel better about myself.

R) You’d have your confidence back. (Reflective listening) When did you have confidence? (Exception)

A) Up until I was in Year 9 I was confident and happy.

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R) You were confident then it went? (Reflective listening)

A) Yeah

R) Where did it go? (Meta question)

A) Comments from my family got to me about being overweight.

R) So on a scale zero being no confidence at all and 10 being full of it! (Laughs) How confident are you now? (Scaling Question)

A) Oh about a 5 or 6

R) Ok so you haven’t lost it all together. How’s that? (Exception)

A) Well, I’ve lost about 30 kilos in the last year.

R) Wow! That’s a massive accomplishment. Congratulations. (Affirming strengths)

A) Thanks

R) What would have to happen for that confidence to get to a 7 or 8? (Strengths question. Creating vision of how things would be…)

A) I would need to lose another 6 kilos

R) So when you lose another 6 kilos you will feel more confident, happy and better about yourself? (reflecting back the goal statement)

A) yes

R) How did you feel good enough about yourself, confident enough to even start losing 30 kilos? (Exception – searching for what she says she wants in her personal history)

A) I didn’t!

R) Really? How could you achieve that feeling bad about yourself and having no confidence? (Matching, reflecting back the implicit communication)

A) Well it wasn’t that bad!

R) What wasn’t that bad? (meta questioning)

A) I guess it got to a point where I had enough and deep down knew I could do it.

R) Ok… so are you telling me that when things are tough you know deep down that you can get through things and achieve big goals? (Matching, reflecting back the implicit communication)

A) Yes, that’s true. I’ve done it a few times.

R) Wow! Tell me about that. How do you do that? (Building on strengths)

A) I guess, sometimes I lose track …and need a reminder (note: did you notice that via the questions she reminded herself!) about how strong I am.

R) Ok that’s great – so you have remembered how strong you are?

A) Yeah

R) Hey…I’m curious – is it just remembering? How do you actually get through tough times and achieve great goals? (Note: I’m persisting in helping her be aware of how she accesses her own resources)

A) I get really determined, and I have to prove it to myself and others. I guess now that I think about it I get angry rather than sad or miserable. No that’s not true, I do get sad, but I get over it – snap out of it I guess and then set my mind to it and it’s almost like I get obsessed by it.

R) Nice! That is what anyone who is very good at something does – get obsessed about how to get better. (Matching, reflective listening, affirming and reframing)

I hope this is of some assistance and reminds you of some of the things we did in the Accidental Counsellor Training.

P.S. the rest of the interview was in this vain – I continued to have her focus on when and how she was able to feel better about herself and more confident and strong.

How To Overcome Failure

Today, I want to talk to you about Failure.
Failure can create two different worlds. In one world, failure can be used as a fuel or drive to fuel motivation and drive people to achievement and success. In another world and for other people, failure and mistakes can paralyse them. It can create a lot of procrastination and really prevent people from stepping up and being the very best that they can be.

I recall a story from a student that I was teaching and she said to me one day,

“I would rather not try and not put in the effort and fail than really work hard and putting my very best effort and fail.”

In her mind and for a lot of people, that is a justification. It’s a protection for them. They can cope with failure because they can justify in their own mind that they didn’t really work very hard for that.

Reframe Failure

How To Overcome FailureWhat we need to do is we need to reframe failure. What does this mean? It means we have to put a different meaning on it. People who use failure as a motivation and as a fuel or drive to help them achieve their goals and success see failure as information, just that. In many ways, they even welcome it. They see failure, they make a mistake, and they just go…

“Okay, now this is going to give me some information about how I can be better, make adjustments, adapt what I’m doing…”

And so, they welcome it because it helps them to improve and become better. However, for the other group of people that we were talking about that prevents them from being their best, they see failure very differently. For them, failure is personal. It’s an identity. They create an identity out of failure. I often say to people,

“Your results do not equal who you are.”

This is what we need to do now. We need to reframe failure so that we can welcome that when it comes. When it comes to see it as information, it’s a neutral thing. It’s information; not about us but about our approach. It can help adjust our approach rather than we fail and it’s…

“I’m no good.”

“I’m worthless.”

“I’m not smart.”

And it becomes personal.

Well I hope that this tip has been useful and you can use it in your own life and to help with other people. Perhaps you might want to leave a comment about how you’ve been able to use failure as a motivation to help you achieve your goals.

Thank You!

Accidental Counsellor Training Canberra 2012

As soon as we pack up after the Albury training on the Tuesday afternoon we start the journey to Canberra.

In 2012, I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra on the 28th and 29th of June. I have to say that it is interesting presenting the Accidental Counsellor Training across Australia. I get to meet lots of people and to be honest the different locations and people at the training provide different experiences for me.  Some groups are more quiet than others and some groups ask more questions that others!

The group who attended the Accidental Counsellor Training in 2012 were fantastic!

The whole family loves the Canberra trip. It may be for different reasons. Anna and Kaiyen hit the shops and Kaiyen loves Questacon. I’d have to say that we all like some of the restaurants.

Kaiyen loves visiting Questacon on after the Accidental Counsellor Training Canberra
Visiting Parliament House after the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra

For the past two years the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra has filled very quickly. So for 2013 we have scheduled two Accidental Counsellor Workshops in Canberra. The first date will be on the 27th and 28th of June and the second Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra will be on the 25th and 26th of November.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra 2012

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Thank you for the suggestions and techniques for dealing with Accidental Counsellor sessions. Some good strategies, particularly with discipline cases.

Jena Shaw, Monaro High School

Really enjoyed the two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training. Will be encouraging our school to line up some training.

Bobbie Dawson, Daramalan College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was a great course – so jam packed with useful information – charismatic, flowing presentation.

Vivian Martin, Canberra Girls’ Grammar School

I really appreciated your calm manner at the Accidental Counsellor Training – nothing was rushed. Plenty of time to cover each topic. You were flexible in your approach and responded to our needs.

Liza Laird, Merici College

Thank you for the two days of training at the Accidental Counsellor Training. I have some practical skills to take away and try, and my interest in the field of psychology is once again fuelled! Now I want to do more! Thanks so much.

Sarahan van Kimmenade, Campbell Primary School

Thank you – I will really try to implement these ideas from the Accidental Counsellor Training.

Colleen Kain, St Mary Mackillop College

This Accidental Counsellor Training course was an excellent workshop that provided a practical and effective ‘solution focused’ way of dealing with student issues. I am looking forward to trying some of these techniques when working with students to make a change to the current situation.

Ben Antoniak, St Mary Mackillop College

I would highly recommend this Accidental Counsellor Training. It provides practical strategies – another way of helping my students (and myself!). Thanks.
Anne Ellis, Canberra Girls’ Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was a fantastic workshop. Great strategies to use when working with students.  Great to have different ways in working with students to uncover issues.
Emma Whiting, Karabar High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very practical and the situations covered were very authentic.
Julie Schofield, Trinity Christian School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Penrith

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  • Monaro High School
  • Daramalan College
  • Canberra Girls’ Grammar School
  • Merici College
  • Campbell Primary School
  • St Mary Mackillop College
  • Karabar High School
  • Trinity Christian School

Accidental Counsellor Training Queensland 2012

For the past two years I have presented the Accidental Counsellor Training at Logan Diggers around 20 minutes from Brisbane.

As you can imagine we schedule the Brisbane trip to coincide with the NSW school holidays and we enjoy visiting the theme parks.

Here are some photos of us at the theme parks.

    

 

 

When I have presented the Accidental Counselling Workshops in Brisbane during the past two years many attendees ask if I will present this training further north in Queensland. So I’m happy to announce that in 2013 the Accidental Counsellor Training in Queensland will be on the following dates and locations:

  1. Logan Diggers 11th and 12th July
  2. Rockhampton 29th and 30th of August
  3. Caloundra 24th and 25th of October

 

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Queensland 2012

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I found this Accidental Counsellor Training one of the most useful professional developments I have been on. There is so much of this I will take back to my school.

Anita Ramsay, Coomera Anglican College

‘The Accidental Counsellor’ was engaging and very practical. I feel confident I will be able to work with students in a more supportive and effective manner.

Michelle Davidson, Loreto College

This is one of the most useful PD sessions I have ever experienced. As a Year Level Co-ordinator, I am often an ‘Accidental Counsellor’ but instead of “hoping for the best” I now have a practical “bag of tricks” that I am excited about practising.

Claire Stevens, The Gap High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided practical strategies to use back at school. Great opportunity to practise in a supportive environment.

Katrina Lyon, Coomera Anglican College

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training relevant to my position/duties.

Tiffany Dixon, St Mary’s Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave me a different way of looking at kids and how to deal with them and not force my solutions on them. I could observe Rocky all day.

Robyn Harm, St Joseph’s Primary School

Although challenging, I found this Accidental Counsellor training to be engaging and enjoyable. The workshop gave me new strategies to ask questions without judgement or trying to predict outcome.

Rexina Harding, St Paul’s School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was thoroughly beneficial, enjoyable, knowledgeable and practical. Overall an excellent uplifting two days.

Patricia Trebbin, St Joseph’s College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful with practical strategies backed up with sound research.

Paul Staines, Citipointe Christian College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very helpful. Very engaging, relevant to situations faced at work, dynamic.

Lakshmi Mohan, Clayfield College

The Accidental Counsellor Training helped me construct better meetings with students and parents.

Sharon McHugo, St John’s Anglican College

The Accidental Counsellor Training has provided me with some extra tools and strategies to use with students and parents.

Kelly Allgood, St John’s Anglican College

The group work at the Accidental Counsellor Training gave more opportunity to remember and learn from our own experience how to deal with various scenarios.

Jo Palmer, Emmanuel College

Thank you for facilitating today’s session of the Accidental Counsellor Training in such an interesting and clear manner. I enjoyed how practical the session were and Rocky was so articulate, flexible and his expertise was very helpful.

Helen Heckenberg

I would also like to thank you for the excellent workshop which you provided in Brisbane recently. I have made use of these newly developed skills with my son, my husband and several students at school already. I can honestly say that in the last week, I have used the reflective listening technique everyday, I have asked a scaling question twice and a miracle question once.
In talking to our counsellor, she was very impressed by the array of questioning techniques that are now part of my daily repertoire. I can’t claim to be in control all the time, but it has certainly made a big difference to the way I listen and respond to people’s situations.

Katrina

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Penrith

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  • Anglican College
  • Loreto College
  • The Gap High School
  • St Mary’s Primary School
  • St Joseph’s Primary School
  • St Paul’s School
  • St Joseph’s College
  • Citipointe Christian College
  • Clayfield College
  • St John’s Anglican College
  • Emmanuel College

The Accidental Counsellor Training Dubbo 2012

The Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo is always a favourite time for the family. This year we visited the Dubbo Zoo (which is fantastic)! and the Old Dubbo Gaol. My daughter found it a little spooky though.

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Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo 2012

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The Accidental Counsellor Training was extremely relevant and practical. A very worthwhile course which I will definitely use in the future.

Karen Parkinson, Dubbo Public School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was excellent and thought provoking. Can’t wait to put into practise!

Diane Simpson, Parkes East Public School

I loved the Accidental Counsellor Training. It was very engaging. Learnt lots of new things. Thank you!

Michelle Wallace, Parkes East Public School

This Accidental Counsellor Training gives you a process to follow and how you ask your questions.

William Ward, Walgett Community College High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was fantastic. Best workshop I have attended in a long while that all information was relevant.

Marissa Gibbs, Walgett Community College High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided me with a direction to go when students tell me the unexpected. Thank you.

Leisa Rowlands, Trundle Central School

Rocky talks from experience and relates to participants. The Accidental Counsellor Training was relevant to what is happening in our schools.

Anthony Le Couteur, Kinross Wolaroi School

These two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training have been informative and applicable to the very situations I find myself in when attempting to assist students. I’ve left with ideas that I’m keen to adopt and utilise.

Philip Worrad, Kinross Wolaroi School

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided great use of examples and in depth responses to questions. I felt like I was interested and concentrating the entire time.

Ashleigh Hiskens, Kinross Wolaroi School

I think this Accidental Counsellor Training should be a course that is run as a compulsory training for all teachers. I learnt a great deal. Thanks Rocky, your workshop has definitely given me many ideas to take back to my school.

Liana Leigo, Dubbo School of Distance Education

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dubbo

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  • Dubbo Public School
  • Parkes East Public School
  • Walgett Community College High School
  • Trundle Central School
  • Kinross Wolaroi School
  • Dubbo School of Distance Education

Conscious Classroom Management Training Liverpool 2012

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Conscious Classroom Management Training in Liverpool 2012

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I would recommend the Conscious Classroom Management Training to colleagues for the practical approach to classroom management.

Andrews Van Nguyen, Macquarie Fields High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was a great professional development, not drowned in theory, but instead providing practical strategies to help in various scenarios.

Peter van der Kley, Macquarie Fields High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training provided great real life situations that can be applied. A great refresher course for classroom management.

Dena Dahdal, Mitchell High School

This Conscious Classroom Management Training has been absolutely fantastic and truly insightful. I have learnt lots about myself and how my class react on my feeling and attitudes. Thank you and I will be recommending that all teachers at my school at least come to one of your workshops. Thanks again.

Krystal Waite, Caringbah North Public School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training provided a range of strategies, a way of explaining students’ behaviour, a reminder to re-think how we go into a room.

Tracy Law, Hawkesbury High School

It was great at the Conscious Classroom Management Training to be reminded of behavioural management techniques, and to learn some new ones.

Daniel Shaw, Concord High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was very practical and gave good examples and fresh ideas for classroom management.

Ashleigh Scocco, Camden Public School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training reinforced many techniques that I am already using and provided new information.

Amanda Smith, Camden Public School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was a very valuable session with strategies I can use every day in my classroom.

Kate Wilton, Gilroy Catholic College

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was extremely useful and engaging.

Alan Georges, Fairvale High School

The Conscious Classroom Management Training was a great day full of simple and applicable strategies.

Matthew Humphry, Prairiewood High School

Thank you very much for the time you took during the Conscious Classroom Management Training discussing specific needs of students in my class. I had tried everything and felt hopeless/unsure of how to make it to the end of the year. I feel more confident, realise I have been doing the right things and better prepared to go back to the classroom with new strategies.

Sarah Davis, Caringbah North Public School

The tips presented at the Conscious Classroom Management Training were great. Information was relevant to both Primary and High school.
Andrea Bowen, Koonawarra Public School

I liked the practical ideas presented at the Conscious Classroom Management Training, and scenarios discussed. Will surely help me and other teachers in my school. Thanks so much, Rocky. An excellent workshop!
Ni Ketut Ayu Puspita Dewi, The University of Sydney

Attendees from the following schools joined the Conscious Classroom Management Training in Liverpool

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CONSCIOUS CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/conscious-classroom-management-training/”]
  • Macquarie Fields High School
  • Mitchell High School
  • Caringbah North Public School
  • Camden Public School
  • Gilroy Catholic College
  • Fairvale High School
  • Prairiewood High School
  • Hawkesbury High School
  • Concord High School
  • Koonawarra Public School
  • The University of Sydney

The Accidental Counsellor Training Liverpool – May 2012

The following are a sample of testimonials received during the Accidental Counsellor Training Course in Liverpool in May 2012

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave me so many strategies to help me in my role as year advisor. The role plays were very helpful.

Emily Shumack, Inaburra School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a beneficial introduction to anyone in a welfare role, or even those who want to communicate better with the youth of today. The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop opened up new techniques and possibilities to implement positive changes with my year 7 cohort. The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was one of the best professional development courses I have done in a long time.

Helen Alalikin, Fairvale High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was highly practical with enough theory to “understand” the process. This Accidental Counsellor workshop was an excellent presentation with outstanding content.

Brad Milburn, William Carey Christian School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was excellent and very informative.

Julia Morales, Leumeah High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided reinforcing and supporting sessions that guide the “learner” to improve their confidence with this important area.

Christine Meharg, Mount Carmel High School

New ideas/approaches to dealing with students and the issues they are dealing with were presented at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

Kim Foo, Fairvale High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was very very useful with lots of practical advice – a totally new way of dealing with kids.

Amy Child, Robert Townson High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave clear steps to find solutions and was definitely worth attending. The Accidental Counsellor workshop gave excellent practical strategies to use that were relevant and wholistic.
Practical and realistic questioning to assist our students to move forward were provided at this Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.
Thank you so much – the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was fantastic! One of the best professional development opportunities I have experienced.

Jonathan Hull, Fairvale High School

How to Motivate Students to Learn – Research from Psychology and Neuro – Science

For the past 20 years I have been intrigued about resilience and mental toughness. What makes some people, despite lack of resources, strive and overcome set backs and challenges? And why is it that other people (some with many resources) “crumble” and quit at the slightest hint of difficulty and challenge?

If we are wondering about what we could do to motivate a love of learning in our children, it is useful to consider two questions:

1) What motivates you? Think of a time when despite the difficulties you still continued and achieved your goal.

2) What motivates your student / child?

I think these questions are useful because the similarities in the answers to the questions hint to what motivates us and our children and what causes us and our children to at times lose hope, quit or not fulfil our potential.

I’ll focus my language at this point toward motivating students. However, I believe there are many commonalities between adults and children when it comes to motivation.

 

Identity Beliefs

How we define ourselves tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Zig Ziglar says, “You cannot perform in a manner which is inconsistent with how you see yourself.”

And Robert Cialdini says, “The strongest need in the human personality is to remain consistent with how we have defined ourselves.”

 

This is illustrated in the diagram below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our beliefs determine our understanding of our potential. This potential determines whether we dare to take action. By taking action we get results and by interpreting these results we form our beliefs.

Carol S. Dweck (“Mindset – The New Psychology of Success”.) discovered in over 35 years of research that there are two predominant identity beliefs.

Fixed and Growth Mindset

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually “all-great” people have had these qualities.

In summary, students with a fixed mindset focused more on looking smart than learning, more on the result / grade than the effort required to achieve a good grade and as a consequence, chose easier tasks that demonstrate that they are smart. This protects how they have defined themselves, smart, brilliant or gifted.

Students with a growth mindset have a different focus. While grades are important what is more important is that they worked hard, put in the effort. They felt that improvement was important and realized that the most brilliant scientists or athletes worked hard to achieve their success. Students with a growth mindset understood that Einstein and Michael Jordan were not born brilliant they had to develop their gifts.

Impact of Praise on Mindset & Motivation to Learn

It goes without saying that our students need good self-esteem. However, the view in the past 30 years has been that to build a sense of self-worth we should tell our children how smart and intelligent they are.

Dweck and her team document a study of children who were given a set of problems from a non verbal IQ test. Afterwards children were randomly assigned to receive one kind of praise. Some received intelligence praise, “Wow, that’s a really good score, you must be really good at this.” Others received effort, process, progress or concentration feedback, “you must of tried hard.” The study was conducted over 6 times as results were so dramatic:

  • Those who received the intelligence praise were now endorsing the fixed mindset
  • Those given effort praise believed this is something they can develop through effort
  • Afterwards the groups were asked what type of task would they like to work on next
  • Presented with a challenging task where they could learn but also make mistakes – 90% of growth mindset students decided to take this task
  • The alternative was to take an easy task so you won’t make mistakes – fixed mindset students overwhelmingly took this option
  • The fixed mindset students wanted to preserve the label – smart
  • Their motivation to learn was dampened.

What does this mean?

  • When we praise students’ intelligence we send the message that this is the most important thing
  • Their sense of self / worth is intertwined with their performance
  • A big task as educators is to build student confidence
  • Within the fixed mindset confidence is very fragile
  • If a fixed mindset student has to exert effort – confidence in their ability goes down
  • Also if they have a set back confidence in their ability goes down
  • Confronted with challenging tasks they haven’t learned – confidence also goes down
  • Within the growth mindset these are not threatened they are welcomed
  • Opportunities to learn are part of the learning process.

What we now know is that students build a stronger sense of self, a stronger self-esteem when they experience success, rather than be told they are successful or good at it. Evidence based on their own experience is much more powerful than words – particularly if the student does not believe the words are true for them.

A new definition of success needs to be born! Rather than the focus being on grades and individual results (future based), the focus needs to be on effort and improvement (present based and in the individuals control). To decide to be our best, give our best, regardless of the difficulty or challenge is what separates resilient and determined people from those who quit when the going gets tough.

Neuroplasticity Research

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This is exciting research that shows our brain is a dynamic system that has the capability of significant growth. The idea that our IQ measures our intelligence and that it is set throughout the life span no longer holds credibility.

As a result of this new research along with studies in the Psychology of Peak Performance we now understand what creates great performance – and natural ability has little to do with it!

Students love to hear that their brain is like a muscle and the more they practice the more the brain forms new connections every time they work hard and learn. They love the idea of a growing brain being in their hands. One student was relieved when he said, “you mean I don’t have to be dumb anymore”. What a liberating message! This young boy had created a new “identity belief” and teachers noticed changes in motivation to learn and higher grades for all students who understood this.

We can teach our children that the correct answer is important but what is more important is how the brain worked (and exercised) in arriving at the correct answer.

Would it be too radical to say that an incorrect answer is better if thought about than a correct answer to an easy problem that didn’t require effort to achieve?

The outcome from this new research applied has been:

  • More resilient children
  • Children who love to learn and solve problems
  • Students who are more motivated to learn
  • Children who know the value of hard work, effort and celebrate improvement.

We can teach our children this growth mindset message and help form them into happy, resilient, determined adults who strive to be their best and do their best.

 

Rocky Biasi is a counsellor and educational consultant. He offers teacher professional development training and runs student well-being sessions. For more information and to contact Rocky CLICK HERE

Connect and Influence without Burning Out
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