The New Year is coming fast and we have been working hard to develop a programme of training that will meet the needs of our clients. To do this, we have been in “empathy mode” over the last few weeks, getting in touch with our clients – especially those in the education sector – to listen to what they need and design effective solutions for them. It’s been a fascinating process and has led us to develop a brand new course to address a common challenge that we encountered in our research: Managing stress, depression and trauma in education.
One of the main sources of inspiration for this new course was a Design Thinking workshop that we delivered over two days in the Pedagogical University in Cracow as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019. Our trainees were mainly students and it was exciting to be able to work with such a young and energetic group to develop their business ideas.
The group were awesome! They were so engaged, motivated and open to new knowledge and innovation. However, there was one outcome of the workshop that really surprised us.
We asked them to choose a current problem society is facing that could be addressed through a business solution. The goal of this was to generate commercial ideas that are realistic, marketable and connected with the needs of real people. They embraced this challenge readily and it was the results that were astonishing.
More than half of the group mentioned depression as the main challenge faced by young people. They were drawing from their own experienced and described the immense stress they were tackling while trying to balance the many roles they have. This included the role of student, which the university expected them to prioritise. However, many of them also worked too, both to earn money but also to gain experience, which is so vital to gaining employment post-graduation. They also felt under pressure to network and to engage in varied extra-curricular activities to pad out their CVs and increase employability. Combined with personal and family commitments and some time to socialise and enjoy life, it left very little time for rest and sleep! There is no class in school that teaches you how to manage your time, prioritise tasks, and work effectively, so many people find the pressure of juggling all of these demands too much to deal with.
This highlights the fact that there is an epidemic of depression and stress among our young people. Even in primary schools, children are facing unprecedented levels of stress. This is being worsened by the 24/7 news cycle, inundating us with sensationalised information, and the pervasiveness of social media, which is increasing the pressure on young people to reach unattainable standards and making it harder to find any respite from bullying and intimidation.
All of this is presenting teachers with a very difficult challenge. How can they teach effectively and help young people prepare for a successful adult life when their students are stressed, distracted and dragged down by low mood?
This is the question that inspired our new M-Powered course. The course is aimed at teachers, trainers and educators. The goal is to equip them with stress management methodologies and techniques that they can use to create a positive, stress-free environment in the classroom that is conducive to openness and learning.
The course will be run by Diarmuid Lavelle, a qualified therapist and trainer with a wealth of experience in stress management. The course includes practical techniques, such as posture training and breathing exercises that can be used by both teachers and students, and focuses on developing conditions for optimal learning states.
Importantly, the course will also help teachers to manage their own stress and will give them the tools they need to identify sources of stress in the classroom. It can be so easy to get bogged down in the requirements or the education system, meeting targets, and enforcing discipline and behavioural standards that we can lose sight of the real goal of being an educator. We want to reconnect people to this sense of purpose and equip them with the tools they need to be the best educators they can in the modern world. In doing so, we hope to make a positive impact on this generation of young people.
Are you an educator in need of this kind of support? Registration will open soon so get in touch now if you’re interested!