Encouraging Positive Conversations; Humanutopia 2023
Young people need opportunities to hone their leadership and teamwork skills if they are to develop into well-rounded adults. That’s why Berkhamsted welcomed Tamara, Aish, and Stevie from Humanutopia, an education consultant dedicated to helping young people lead conversations and encourage positive change.
This year’s Humanutopia sessions began with 40 Year 12s who volunteered to become ‘local heroes’. These students will help to ensure the wellbeing of their peers. After a jam-packed morning of training in the use of body language and verbal reassurance, the Heroes Journey was just getting started for our Year 12s. “We have a bit of a surprise” announced Stevie as a stream of Year 6s from Berkhamsted Prep and Heatherton filled the hall, “it’s time to put everything you have learned into practice”. Once the Year 6s sat down, the Wellbeing Ambassadors wasted no time in breaking the ice as groups shared their names and the emotions they were feeling.
From a game of ‘Hey Ben- What are You Doing?’ to organising teams into height order, there were many opportunities for pupils to be adventurous and speak to different group members during the session.
After an afternoon of fun, it was time to get serious as the older pupils kindly shared some advice with the Year 6s like “be yourself” and “always respect others”.
The following Friday, the Humanutopia team returned with our local heroes for a ‘Who am I’ session. The afternoon inspired pupils to reflect on their lives to date, their choices, and their futures.
Year 9 pupils were asked to share what advice they would give to their Year 7 selves while hearing what the Year 12s would do differently if they had their time in senior school over again. “I’d remind myself to have fun,” one Year 12 told her group, “knowing your GCSEs are coming up can be scary, but it’s important to take time for yourself too”.
Humanutopia was a safe environment for pupils to open up about their thoughts and emotions. Meanwhile, the sessions allowed our local heroes to develop the skills that will help them serve the younger pupils throughout their time as wellbeing ambassadors. “Working with the Year 6s and Year 9s was a great way to practice everything we learned in our training sessions about positive body language and open communication,” says Year 12 Matthew, “I now feel confident to talk to my peers about mine and their emotions”.
A big thanks to Tamara, Aish, and Stevie for facilitating the inter-year group conversations and reminding our pupils of the significance of getting out of their comfort zones while serving others this term.