Supporting Student Wellbeing: Theatre in Education Case Study
With the launch of ‘The Wellbeing Framework for Schools’ by the NSW Education & Communities Department in April 2015, more and more schools are developing initiatives that are aimed at empowering students to take better care of their wellbeing; as well as that of others.
One school that’s had a long-running student wellbeing program is All Saints’ College Bathurst. Their successful approach is focused on teaching skills that students can use in their everyday life, not just about conveying information on what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ behaviour. One example of this is incorporating Brainstorm Productions anti-bullying and violence prevention program ‘Sticks & Stones’.
Using live theatre Sticks & Stones takes the audience on a journey, including real-life scenarios, to help students learn how to effectively and safely deal with aggressive situations, help other students who may be struggling and how to relieve personal stress without resorting to the use of violence. The program is designed to approach negative behaviours such as bullying and violence, but from a constructive standpoint - to help students make positive choices about their lives, health and happiness.
All Saints’ College Bathurst shared their experience on how Brainstorm Productions Sticks & Stones program is integrated into their student wellbeing curriculum:
All Saints’ College Bathurst- Brainstorm Productions
On Friday, 21st August, Years 7, 8 and 9 students were entertained, enthralled and challenged by the visiting Brainstorm Productions performance of Sticks & Stones. This critically acclaimed piece of educational theatre addressed anti-bullying in schools and provided strategies for conflict resolution, anger management, assertiveness, domestic violence, and breaking the cycle of violence.
Two energetic young actors, Michael and Kieren, explored the different forms of bullying in the playground, in the street and at home.
School yard scenarios were used to encourage students to have empathy and understanding: invading people’s personal space, homophobic and racist remarks, domestic violence and intimidation in person or on the internet are all illegal and have serious consequences.
The hour long show spotlighted negative patterns of behaviour through inappropriate modelling from peers, family members, TV and computer games. Sticks & Stones also examined the link between hormones, adrenalin, the “fight, flight” response and alcohol-fuelled violence.
The hard hitting narrative was punctuated with circus skills to demonstrate co-operation and the use of control through breath, focus and channelling energy into positive pursuits.
About Sticks & Stones
Sticks & Stones offers students a wide-range of benefits, as outlined above by All Saints' College Bathurst. These photos beautifully illustrate what a wonderful, positive, empathetic and compassionate experience theatre in education can deliver. Students are engaged on every level and are immersed in the emotional journey of the actors and storyline – what a brillant way to learn!
To find out more about Sticks & Stones Years 7-10: CLICK HERE.
Support is available for anyone who may be distressed: Lifeline 13 11 14; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; Suicide Call Back Service - 24/7 Helpline 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know requires immediate assistance, please call Emergency Services (000) or Lifeline (13 11 14).
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