Thriving at Barker

Thriving at Barker

The foundation of effective education is wellbeing.  At Barker, we aim to create an environment that affords all students experiences of connectedness, a sense of belonging, engagement and positive, respectful relationships based on equity and safety.

Barker is committed to creating and fostering a caring and positive Christian environment for every student, in order for our young people to be known, supported and equipped with the social and emotional tools needed to thrive.

The purpose of the student wellbeing program at Barker is to empower students with social and emotional skills and attributes, developed through a holistic program of care, so that they can thrive throughout their lives. It is hoped that the legacy of the student wellbeing program at Barker produces graduates who are resilient and equipped to make a difference in their world and who have given more than they have received.

 Students are immersed in holistic learning experiences where wellbeing is carefully considered and integrated into academic learning, outdoor education, service learning, Connect groups, the House system, co-curricular programs, sport, student academic care and support, and through Christian faith development.

Connect Group Program

Each student in Years 7-12 is a member of a small House based Connect Group. Students meet for ‘Connect Time’ in groups of about 20-22 students twice a week. Connect Groups are led by a Barker teaching staff member who are known as Connect Group Leaders. Students are engaged in the Living Hopeful Lives wellbeing programs in Connect time.

Inquiry, Rhetoric, Gratitude and Service

Wellbeing is expressed in all areas of College life at Barker and is underpinned by Barker’s Thriving Framework: Inquiry, Rhetoric, Service and Gratitude. The first two pillars refer to our cognitive or intellectual growth. The second two refer to wellbeing and resilience. A human being fully alive will hold their intellectual and spiritual self in a harmonious whole and this harmony will make them strong all their days.

Inquiry is learning to wonder, learning to imagine and to ask questions about the world around us. We want to educate students to wonder about their world rather than simply being passive learners who await curriculum and syllabus designers to tell them what we need to know. So many things are changing rapidly. A 21st Century learner has a vast corpus of information at their fingertips. Good schools will educate students to wonder and inquire so as to be able to access this vast sea of knowledge.

Rhetoric is understood in the way that Greek philosopher Aristotle spoke some 2400 years ago – learning to think, to reason, to persuade. A thriving learner at Barker will know how to think and how to engage in respectful discourse with others at a time when so many things once taken for granted are being called into question.

Gratitude is learning to express thankfulness for the countless blessings that flow from our education, our community and our world. Deep gratitude amplifies the good things in our lives and is one of the best catalysts we know for resilience and for what psychologists call grit. Each of us are a gift to one another and we all need to learn to express gratitude for the ways in which our lives are enriched by the lives of others.

Service is learning to seek the welfare of our community for, as the prophet Jeremiah says “in its prosperity lies your prosperity” (Jer 29:7). A thriving person at Barker will seek to serve others both now and all their days. Gratitude and service will be a habit of mind.

The thriving that is celebrated at Barker is not new. It has been in place for many decades and defines who we are at our School. In future years we intend to build on this, to make it the universal experience of all students and, in the process, further influence the world beyond the Mint Gates. This is our calling and the Great Cause of education in a Christian setting.