Education & Wellbeing
Educational Performance practitioner, Irena-Marie Makowska, is working alongside school teachers to enhance overall confidence and wellbeing among their pupils - as well as staff.
In September 2013 a research study carried out by Edge Hill University, the University of South Australia and the AQA exam board found that teenagers who stress about doing well in their GCSE exams are likely to get lower results than peers who remain calmer. The study was based on a survey of 325 pupils. Although these facts are obvious to all of us, not enough is being done to counteract it.
In the UK alone, children and young adults who are depressed, can wait up to 18 months to see a counsellor through CAMHS.
The EU Joint Action on Mental Health and Wellbeing is a 3-year initiative that aims at building a framework for action in mental health policy at the European level and builds on previous work developed under the European Pact for Mental Health and Well-being. However yet again, not enough is being done!
It is estimated that one in ten children and young people aged 5-16 suffer from a mental health difficulty – this is around three children in every school class. Giving children the right help early on can set them up for life, teaching them resilience and valuable life skills.
My aim is to provide students with simple coping strategies that they can utilize to reduce their anxiety levels and perform at their very best. All this can lead to much better academic performance and far greater emotional well being for the student.
Student exams support
For some it isn't just the anxiety or 'nerves' at the time of the exam but very often it is weeks or months ahead. Even those who feel they are quite confident in the subject can suddenly believe their "nerves" will cause them to "let themselves down" on the day.
The lack of self belief and anxiety can then start to manifest into other sectors of their life - and stay with them as they go into adulthood.
Using mindfulness to create overall wellbeing, self confidence, focus and a state of calmness are life skills that remain.
"My aim is to give the students simple coping strategies that they can utilize throughout their lives," comments Irena-Marie
One-2-One Case Study, France
Andrew, 12 years old with dyslexia.
"Over a period of three months I have worked with Andrew helping him regain confidence in himself. His parents are English and Andrew has been in the French school system since arriving at three years old.
Irena-Marie went on to add,"His mother approached me desperate for help as her son had no belief in himself as dyslexia is not really catered for very well in most French schools and he believed he was stupid, which of course is far from the truth!".
By using creative visualisation and 'story-telling', Andrew's self esteem started to grow. Equally important, Andrew's aggression, which was more frustration based, decreased considerable.
The Educational Performance Programme (EPP)
The programme is developed using mindfulness to create wellbeing. This is an immediate support system for vulnerable children and young adults.
It is designed to bring about a positive change to a student’s mindset, to give them a set of ‘mind management tools’ that can help them focus on success instead of focusing on negatives and failures.
This is not a short-term fix, its creating skills for life, in that if that student uses the ‘tools’ they will develop lifetimes habits for being calmer, more resilient to pressures and always perform at their very best.
The EEP is created to cover a number of different subjects within schools, collages and university. Children from seven years upwards can benefit immensely simply by encouraging their creative skills to build confident; to aid exam stress; to communicate more clearly; for performance enhancement, such as sports...
Malet Lambert School Case Study, United Kingdom
The award-winning school, the beneficiary of £25m redevelopment, has been using the Educational Performance Programme designed to help students and their teachers prepare for exams by using relaxation and concentration methods.
Linked to other teaching methods that have helped to position Malet Lambert as one of the city’s leading secondary schools, they have employed this programme for two years which has resulted in the school's recorded best ever GCSE results with 99 per cent of the students receiving five A to C grades.
Stephen Logan, Business Champion at Malet Lambert School, said: “For many students, it isn’t just the anxiety or nerves at the time of the exam, but very often they worry for weeks and months ahead. This programme provide students with simple coping strategies that they can utilise to reduce their anxiety levels and perform at their very best. All of this can lead to much better academic performance and far greater emotional well-being for the student.”