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Executive Function Skills Workshops

At the end of Term 4, 2019 and the beginning of Term 1 2020, I had the absolute pleasure of facilitating twelve practical and interactive workshops with Peter Moyes ACS parents and students. There were two phases to the workshops; an initial workshop focused on Planning and Organisation followed by a workshop on Maximising Lesson Time and Task Initiation. The workshops were aimed at Year 7 and Year 10 levels due to the transitional nature of these years.

Workshop 1: Planning and Organisation Workshop

The slogan for the Planning and Organisation workshop was ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’. The rationale for the workshop being that most students need explicit direction and assistance in developing efficient skills of organisation and planning; and that there is evidence-based research that shows that effective organisation and planning is essential to achievement.

The workshop focused on explicitly demonstrating and modelling how to use School-issued Course Programmes and Assessment Outlines to develop student term and year planners for each student; and how to plan for the provision of sufficient time to address the independent work expectations of courses via independent work planners.

Parents and students were fully engaged during the workshop; working together to develop planning documents; leaving the workshop armed with proforma documents and a determination to make planning and organisation a priority in 2020!

Throughout the workshop, the importance of the three-way partnership of parent-student-teacher and its role in providing holistic support for the student in reaching their potential was reinforced.

Workshop 2: Maximising Lesson Time and Task Initiation

The second phase of workshops focused on how to maximise learning during lesson time; to demystify what happens in a ‘typical’ lesson; and how a student can move from receiving a task to starting it (task initiation) and completing it to the highest level possible.

The workshop included presentations of lesson segments in Mathematics, English, Science and Humanities & Social Sciences; and detailed strategies and techniques, particular to different subjects, which assist students to gain the most from a lesson during instruction time.

The aim of the workshop was to empower parents and students to work collaboratively in order to support student learning in the classroom by being invited into the classroom to demonstrate what a student typically encounters during instruction time. The link between classroom learning and the independent work planning documents that were covered in the Planning and Organisation workshop was also reinforced throughout this workshop.

Feedback

Overall, the workshops were a great success with feedback being overwhelmingly positive. Constructive feedback and indications of what parents would like covered in possible subsequent workshops were also welcomed, noted and appreciated. A snippet of some anonymous feedback that was supplied following the workshops is detailed below.

“It was great to have a workshop with parents and students working together rather than specific parent only and student only approaches. Well done!”

“It was amazing, very informative, looking forward to putting it into practise.”

“Brilliant.  My son was not wanting to go but was really motivated and wants to use the forms and techniques.  Thank you.  Really appreciated and well delivered.”

“I have absolutely loved these workshops. They have been so helpful to get information across to my son.  I now have so much more understanding of how fantastic the school is and how we can help our child make the most of his time with you.”

“My son & I attended the first workshop last year. Following the completion of this workshop my son thanked me for my time & told me he actually found the sessions helpful. Thank you.”

“Thank you sincerely for these most helpful workshops.  We do really appreciate your valuable time and effort.  We found both workshops very helpful indeed and would always be keen to attend any more.  Thank you to all involved.”

“Workshop was excellent - thank you to all the teachers. Such a great initiative to provide this level of support for both students & parents. Succeeding at high school doesn't just happen, it's a learnt process that involves having the tools, templates and guidance.  Hopefully we can embed these study habits into our kids so they find school much easier and more enjoyable by experiencing success.  Mrs Barber is clearly very passionate about this - so we are very fortunate to have her championing this for us.”

“In all my long studies I have never seen such a well thought out and structured approach.”

Thank You

I thoroughly enjoyed working with parents and students and would like to thank, not only the teachers involved in the second workshop but also the Anglican School Commission for supporting this initiative. Most importantly though, I would like to thank the parents and students for taking the time to attend and fully engage in the workshops.

Further Resources

Many parents expressed an interest in guidance for students on how to effectively prepare for assessments. From Years 7 to 9, students work through a study skills programme (www.studyskillshandbook.com.au) during Pastoral time. I encourage you to speak to your child about this and to reinforce the need to have a plan in place in order to reach one’s goals and achieve to your potential. Some useful tips from this programme for parents and students are included below.    

Study Tips

Mrs Grainne Barber