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A Message from the Associate Principal - Senior School

At a recent Senior School Assembly, just prior to the start of the Year 11 and 12 examination weeks, I shared the idea of .B or dot-be.

It links with other themes presented at Assembly, such as developing a growth mindset, more green-time (vs screen time) and good sleeping habits. Interestingly, these themes were highlighted at a recent conference that I attended in April.

It was made apparent that mindfulness, a growth mindset and good sleeping patterns are inter-related. They are based on a strengthening scientific body of evidence, and are important for both educators and parents as we work together to support the teenagers in our care to reach their potential. 

The simple mindfulness concept .B stems from a movement in UK education which stands for Stop, Breathe and Be!

When a student learns mindfulness as a life skill, the results make them feel happier, calmer and more fulfilled. They are better able to get on with others and more easily cope with stress and anxiety.   

The association of .B with greater emotional regulation has links to neuroscience where the amygdala becomes less activated, allowing other parts of the brain that are critical to learning and memory (the Hippocampus) and mature, considered decision-making (Prefrontal Cortex), to become more active.

The cognitive advantages of mindfulness, helping students to concentrate and learn better gained from .B practice are also associated with a growth mindset. Those students who have a growth mindset believe that failure and challenges are opportunities for their personal growth. They believe that their potential is not limited. They believe that feedback is constructive and that their effort and attitude determines their ability.

The link to .B and learning is further strengthened with the major principle of human learning where there is no new learning without ‘memory + attention’ and ‘dreams + sleep’. To really learn something, information needs to be stored in long-term memory. Sleep is a major determinant of brain functioning that is determinant of long-term memory. When one is sleep deprived, the brain cannot organise the day’s mental activity efficiently and effectively. 

Basically, there is no long-term memory building without sleep, the type of sleep associated with dreams. Sleep that is interrupted by (or prevented from) excessive use of screens with hours spent on social media and internet gaming, for example, all prevent effective and efficient learning.  

As educators and parents, we have the responsibility to instil into our young people the benefits of being mindful and developing habits of a growth mindset, as well as the importance of limiting screen time and promoting healthy sleep patterns.

Written by Natalie Shaw, Associate Principal - Senior School