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Nurturing Wellbeing in Adult Learning
17/04/2013 00:00:00

On March 22nd, 110 staff from all across Limerick City Adult Education Service took part in ‘Nurturing Wellbeing in Adult Teaching and Learning’ a CPD event that was held as part of Limerick’s Lifelong Learning Festival 2013. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the importance of wellbeing and positive mental health in the adult learning environment and to share practical approaches for building resilience-both our own and that of learners.

We are in the middle of conducting a review of the event but the feedback that we have gotten so far was that they day was really enjoyable, and that people left with ideas about how they can look after their own wellbeing as well as practical tools to create and support positive learning environments.  As one of our tutors Ber put it “I was fast approaching what I call my "crawl home to bed" stage of the term so it was so brilliant and refreshing to be treated to such a well-planned, perfectly organised and thoughtful experience”.

The event which included two keynote addresses and 10 different taster workshops, took place over half a day.  Psychologist, Shane Martin was up first with a keynote titled ‘Bouncing Back: The Gift of Resilience’, looking at the skills we can learn to help get us through the tough times. 

Following this, people attended two workshops from a choice of ten.  We had a ‘Yoga’ workshop providing some time out to relax,  a ‘Superfoods’ cookery class where participants got to make two nutritious dishes. Then there were workshops looking at ‘Self Care and Boundaries’, ‘Exercise and Fitness’, and one around the link between ‘Creativity and Wellbeing’.  People also got a chance to have a more in-depth look at the how-to of ‘Building Resilience’ and there was a session on ‘Mindfulness for Stress Reduction’.  In terms of teaching and learning we had sessions which focused on methods for ‘Building a Rapport with Learners’, ‘Creative Techniques for Working Together’ and also a workshop showcasing the ‘Youthreach Mentoring Programme’. Workshop topics were diverse but all related to wellbeing and were very practical in nature. 
John Lonergan, former governor of Mountjoy Prison finished the day superbly by talking about the impact that education can have on individuals. He also reminded us of the importance of the spirit in which staff interact with learners and the value of a kind word.

A notable feature of the Nurturing Wellbeing event was that it was attended by all LCAES staff; teachers, tutors, programme and service managers, administration and ancillary staff. Many of the workshops were also facilitated by LCAES staff, providing a brilliant way of showcasing their many talents.

In LCAES we really value CPD and feel that events like this can really help support staff in their work. Patricia Kennedy, VTOS Co-ordinator commented that “The day provided a great opportunity for staff to meet with colleagues from the wider Adult Education Service and highlighted the substantial benefits of positive mental health in teaching and learning”.

This is the second service-wide event that LCAES have held as part of the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival. Last year’s ‘Show I.T.’ was themed around the use of Information Technology in teaching and learning. This event is emerging as a key date in the LCAES calendar and we hope to build on its successes and make it even better year upon year.

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