Tag Archives: education

Ridley Exploring Mindfulness as Part of a Positive Education

Ridley strives to be at the forefront of educational development, to ensure our students become successful members of the global community. For this reason, our school was an early adopter amongst independent schools, embracing positive education as a fundamental approach to learning.

Being on the leading edge of positive education means continuing to explore new ideas and research as it becomes available. This semester, the students of Lower School have been part of a pilot programme to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on students. The programme developed by Jacqueline Oscvirk, creator of The Mindful Family, involves students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 practicing mindfulness twice weekly.

Mindfulness meditation focuses the human brain on what is being sensed at each moment, instead of the past or future. It is a way to calm the mind and develop clarity, calmness, empathy, and positivity.

Within educational systems, mindfulness has shown an improvement in students’ attention and focus, emotional regulation, creativity, as well as problem solving skills. Studies have shown youth benefit from learning mindfulness, in terms of improved cognitive outcomes, social-emotional skills, and well-being. These benefits may lead to long-term improvements in life.

“Our intention is to equip all of our Lower School students with the tools to overcome everyday challenges.” – Hanna Kidd, Lower School Counsellor

There is substantial evidence that skills which increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement, and meaning can be taught to school children. In this way, without compromising either, Ridley teaches both the skills of well-being and the skills of achievement.

“It’s another tool for teachers to use,” says Hanna Kidd. The Grade 7 and 8 students will begin their mindfulness training in early April, with the goal of using mindfulness to help reduce stress and anxiety as they prepare for exams.

Ridley is incorporating the latest research in positive education from around the world. Discoveries such as gritthe ability to persevere through challengesby Dr. Angela Duckworth, and flowthe ability to become immersed in a challenging taskby Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, have already been added. Based on this science, Ridley equips students to deal with the daily demands of life and learning by creating an environment that:

• Generates positive emotions
• Practices mindfulness
• Builds on strengths not deficits
• Models grit and resilience
• Nurtures positive relationships
• Encourages goal setting and accomplishments
• Fuels our vitality

Ridley students are empowered to embrace their individuality, develop who they are, strive for who they will be, and define the lives they will lead. They develop the intellectual, physical, emotional, and social skills needed to succeed. They are inspired to acquire the knowledge, explore the truths, and nurture the values that will allow them to lead flourishing lives.

THE NATIONAL POST: REPORT ON PRIVATE SCHOOLS, June 4th, 2016

Ridley College earns a rare scholastic distinction

Iris Winston

RidleySchoolHouse

Ridley College, already one of the best-known independent boarding schools in Canada, now has a prestigious new designation.

Early this year, Ridley became an International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school. It is the only boarding school in the country to have achieved this distinction and one of just 15 schools across Canada to offer the world-class international programme. Only two other independent boarding schools in North America offer IB continuum programming.

Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1968, the International Baccalaureate Organization is a non-profit educational foundation that offers “highly respected programmes of international education that develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Schools must be authorized, by the IB organization, to offer any of the programmes. Schools usually develop the IB continuum over time, adding programmes as the school grows.”

“Ridley has been on a six-year journey with IB,” says Ridley’s headmaster Ed Kidd, who returned to Canada to take the position with Ridley four years ago after 14 years at the Shanghai American School, where he was also involved with and taught the IB programmes.

Developed for students from three to 19 years of age, the IB framework comprises three segments: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP). Holistic in style, they all encourage individual learning styles, open communication and compassion, as well as cognitive development and international thinking.

Ridley has run the PYP and DP programmes for the last five years. It was certified for the MYP programme earlier this year, completing the rare designation as an IB continuum school.

The PYP, designed for students aged three to 12, focuses on encouraging inquiring minds, inside and outside the classroom. Using an inter-disciplinary approach, the PYP focuses on teaching students to see the connections between subject areas.

The MYP, designed for students aged 11 to 16, focuses on intellectual challenge and encouraging students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. It aims to foster skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement, crucial for success in the 21st century.

The Diploma Programme is for students ages 16 to 19 and focuses on intellectual breadth and depth. Through all three programmes, students are challenged to excel in intellectual curiosity and development, personal growth, empathy and high ethical standards, while working through a broad curriculum. As described in the background material, the aim is to develop “internationally minded people with a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond intellectual development and academic success.” This leads to greater success at the post-secondary level and eventually in the students’ professional lives.

“IB is meant to teach students how to think from a very young age,” says Kidd. “Rather than a curriculum — although we are still using the Ontario K to 12 curriculum and offer an optional Ontario Secondary School Diploma — it is an approach to learning, a pedagogical philosophy that incorporates the best of 21st-century education.”

He describes IB as “student-centred, inquiry-based, inter-disciplinary and international,” noting “it brings the world and global-mindedness and global competency into the curriculum.”

Kidd points out that every aspect of the IB approach, which is “founded on taking action and service to others,” is in line with the philosophy and internationalism of Ridley College.

“We have Canadians from all over the country and a long history of bringing students from around the world to the school. Currently, 44 different countries are represented. The IB philosophy also fits in with our commitment to service.” The Ridley College motto is Terar dum prosim  (May I be consumed in service.)

Most of all, he says, “it’s good teaching. The IB framework makes learning a rich and rigorous experience. We’ve adopted a world-class approach to teaching and learning that allows us to prepare students from around the world for living in an increasingly global society.”

All this augurs well for the future success of IB students. Their training places them at the forefront in their post-secondary studies, as well as putting them ahead in the selection process at top universities around the world.

Established in 1889 as a boys’ school, and co-educational since 1973, Ridley is one of the oldest and most prestigious independent schools in Canada. From the beginning, Ridley, which is located on an attractive 90-acre campus in the Niagara region, has combined high academic standards, a wide range of extra-curricular activities, a service commitment and internationalism.

This story was produced by Postmedia Content Works on behalf of Ridley College for commercial purposes. Postmedia’s editorial departments had no involvement in the creation of this content.

Test Taking Tips from the Learning Centre

December break is fast approaching, which means Ridleians are preparing for their end of term tests and projects. Test taking has a tendency to induce anxiety for many students, but fortunately there are a number of resources offered to our students to help alleviate this stress.

Ridley’s Learning Centre is a space on campus dedicated to helping students get the most out of their learning experience. It provides a quiet space for students to study and acquire a range of subject-specific and organizational tutoring from our dedicated Learning Strategists.

Below you will find a series of quick tips for note-taking, studying and test-taking, provided by the Learning Centre.

Quick tips for note-taking

Record. Jot down the most useful information during your lecture. It is best to try and decipher what information is more important when writing down the information. Quality over quantity.

Summarize. Upon completion of each page of notes, summarize the key points made at the bottom of the page.

Review. Spend at least ten minutes, every week, reviewing all of your notes. This will allow you to slowly retain the information without overloading your memory.

Tips adapted from How to Study in College 7/e by Walter Pauk, 2001 Houghton Mifflin Company

Quick tips for studying and test anxiety

Set a study timeline. Avoid last minute studying by making a realistic studying plan that dedicates chunks of time to specific topics over a longer period of time.

Feed your brain. When studying for a test, avoid caffeine and sugar and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet improves brain function and promotes clarity.

Rest and relaxation. Your brain needs time to recover after studying. Wind down before going to bed by turning off all devices and relaxing before bed. Ensure you get eight hours of sleep after studying; especially on test day.

Create a study guide. Using your lecture notes, class materials and references, make a study guide that compiles useful information that will be needed for your test.

Consider the nature of the course. For technical course, practice problems. For non-technical courses, study the major topics found on the course outline.

Quick tips for test writing success 

Choose an effective space. If you are easily distracted, choose a spot in the front or against a wall to limit distractions.

Write quick “memory notes”. As soon as you may begin writing your test, write down any quick, important facts that may help you later on. These can be dates, names, formulas or acronyms.

Use the first 5 minutes to preview the exam. Previewing the exam will allow you to gauge the types of questions being asked. If there is an essay question, previewing the question being asked will allow your brain to being formulating ideas as you write the first part of the test.

Allocate your time. Longer questions will require more time. Ensure you have enough time to answer all of the questions. If you find yourself stuck on one, move on to the next questions; you can always come back to the ones you’ve missed.

What to do if you’re stuck. If you are stuck on a question, leave it. When you return to it, if you are still unsure, make an educated guess.

 

Good luck to all students writing their final term tests!

For more information on Ridley’s Learning Center, please click here or contact Learning Specialist/Founder, Mrs. Elizabeth Clarke; elizabeth_clarke@ridleycollege.com or (905) 684-1889 ext. 2611.