Students learning skills for life

Published 3:00pm 12 June 2024

Students learning skills for life
Words by Kylie Knight

A program at Southern Cross Catholic College is helping students develop skills to understand themselves better, so they can interact with and relate to others.

Program Leader Student Engagement and Wellbeing Garry Woodford says the Life Skills program, which has been running since 2022, looks at ‘essential soft skills’ students need now and in the future.

“The program challenges students’ beliefs and understandings of who they really are and how they can help serve others,” Garry says.

Students in Years 7 and 8 can choose Life Skills as an elective, with one class in each year level on offer.

“Both classes are near capacity as it is a very popular choice for students. Life Skills is a mixed gendered class that caters for all skills and ability levels,” Garry explains.

“The past deputy Kate Mellor approached me during COVID and asked if I’d be keen to run a proactive program that would support the students of Southern Cross Catholic College.

“I was excited to think outside the box with her and create a program that I felt students would love and engage in.”

Garry says the program provides a different learning experience for students.

“The students have ‘buy in’ to some of the content they would like to cover that is relevant to their developmental and chronological age group,” he explains.

“Students learn the power of effective communication, gratitude, empathy, character strengths, personality styles, physical activity, and movement and much more.

“We also delve into the impacts of too much technology on our brains and thus our relationships.

“Overall, students become active advocates in their own lives with respect to many behaviours and soft skills learned.”

Garry says many students say Life Skills is their favourite class and they look forward to the array of activities on offer.

“These often include practical activities. From making healthy eating wraps to support our topic of nutrition, to guiding students to understand the importance of community and participating in a game of Lawn Bowls with our neighbouring Scarborough Bowls Club, students participate in a number of hands-on learning experiences,” he says.

“Students can be themselves in this class. We work together to understand and respect the importance of belonging in a safe environment.

“Having similar values and taking our mask off to be vulnerable allows the Life Skills classes to be part of a positive culture. The by-product is that the groups become very quick to become conducive to learning.”

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