Preparing students for life after school - Education Matters Magazine
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Preparing students for life after school

A new emotional intelligence schools’ program aims to enhance social skills, emotional intelligence (EQ), resilience and confidence among students, and reduce growing levels of anxiety, to encourage greater success beyond the classroom.

The XVenture Schools Program is designed for Years 10 and 11 and sits alongside the academic curriculum. It was implemented in 11 Sydney schools during 2018.

Created by emotional intelligence, resilience and leadership expert at XVenture, Mike Conway, it is based on a successful pilot that took place in two schools in 2017.

“Recent statistics predict there will be about 516,600 job openings per year from 2017-2024 in Australia, with some 200,000 new jobs in South-Western Sydney alone. It is likely many of these jobs will need to be filled by local people, yet research suggests school leavers are lacking certain skills required in the workplace and life,” said Mr Conway.

“Furthermore, it’s been suggested for some time that people with higher levels of EQ are better leaders and better equipped to deal with change and pressure.”

The program, which is delivered by specially trained teachers from participating schools, consists of six stages delivered over 12 weeks. It combines face-to-face, experiential, online, reflective practice and employer integration.

“Via a diagnostic tool and the students’ reflective essays, not only have we seen improved confidence and composure but also better communication and acknowledgement of their areas of development. Students have recognised they have the most powerful impact on their performance and not outside factors,” added Mr Conway.

He revealed that across the participating schools, 84% of students noticed a change in their behaviour by the end of the program. He added that all students who completed the program had a shift of 5-13% in their levels of EQ (self-awareness, self-management, motivation, empathy and social skills).

Magdalene Catholic High School was one of the schools that participated in the program. “We were thrilled to be one of the first in the country to be selected to participate in the XVenture Schools Program,” said Assistant Principal, Jennifer Foldes.

“We have seen the positive outcome of the program in building emotional intelligence, resilience and leadership skills in students. The program is designed using experiential learning and offers students the opportunity to work in teams collaboratively and build their social skills.”

The XVenture Schools Program is built on XVenture’s global work with elite sports teams, corporates, universities and families over the past six years.

For schools to be eligible to offer the program, one or two educators from the school are trained over 1-2 days in a unique, fully immersive experiential personal and professional development course.

The course is hosted at the University of Wollongong and lead by Mike Conway and the XVenture coaching team.

Expressions of interest are now open via XVenture’s website for schools around Australia wishing to participate in the next round of the XVenture Schools Educator Training.

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