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r u ok?


It’s been a busy three weeks for our IB students, what with Year 12 residential, International Week and RUOK? week. We also launched our upcoming Approaches to Learning conference. Some of you might remember the resounding success of last year’s conference led by our current Y13 students. Well, we’re doing it again with Y12. They become workshop leaders for the day as they lead sessions with Year 7 students on the five Approaches To Learning which are so important for school success: Communication skills, thinking skills, self-management skills, social skills and research skills. In teaching year 7 ways to improve these skills, year 12 will not only contribute to the growth and development of our younger students but they’ll also need to call upon all of their own ATLs to run successful workshops. Looking forward to it already!file_004

The point of today’s post, however, is to reflect on our week of RUOK? If you were in school at all last week you couldn’t have failed to notice our Year 13 students in their bright yellow t-shirts. RUOK? is a well-known Australian initiative in response to rising levels of suicide. The focus is on having meaningful conversations and staying connected with others. Our students have spent the week raising awareness of how some mental health issues can be helped just by being present and supportive of each other. It’s a bit of a social nicety to ask ‘are you ok?’, but how often do we actually stop and listen to the response? Where I come from, a common way of greeting each other is ‘alreet?’ (English translation for non-Geordies: ‘are you alright?’), yet this isn’t a question that requires a response and is often said without stopping for a conversation at all. RUOK? week was about cueing in to physical and emotional signs that people need some support and learning how to listen in a non-judgemental way. One of our Learner Profile attributes is ‘Caring’ and Year 13 demonstrated their ability to care for he school community by leading this initiative.

Thanks go to Ms Barnard for leading the planning and organisation of the week, as well as the footage for this superb video made by Mr Eaglestone:

And so it’s a well deserved week off school for all of us. While IB students always have work to do, it’s important to take the time to relax as well as to look out for those around you. All of us need to be asked ‘RUOK?’ at times, and have someone really listen to our answer. Try that this week.


Author: Ann Lautrette

Head of Sixth Form and IB Coordinator at BSJ.

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