A key player behind a stunning school transformation in Logan is using mindfulness in wellbeing programs aimed at boosting student outcomes and teaching quality. Donald Cameron is the Teaching and Learning Head of Department at Marsden State High School (MSHS), which has teachers and its school improvement agenda being recognised in multiple state and national award programs. The leader of MSHS’s enormous mentoring program, in which approximately 40 teachers mentor 50 beginning teachers, Donald created a Mindfulness for Teachers program, which is being used to help lead transformation at the school.
MSHS deputy principal Michael Smith says the program has brought an increase in staff mindfulness, wellbeing and self-compassion, along with decreases in staff stress. The technique is also used at the start of lessons. “This helps bring the students into the present and helps reduce unnecessary mind chatter, and helps students focus on work,” Michael says. Donald has developed an Attention Focused Classroom Management Program for the Marsden Beginning Teacher’s program and developed a whole-school teaching framework aligning teaching pedagogy with students’ needs, following extensive review and collaboration with all staff. He puts his trust in teachers, creating a ‘toolbox’ of pedagogies so that they can individually choose what is best for their class and students. The previous Beaudesert and Cavendish Road State High School teacher is in high demand to present his MSHS strategies and programs for university students and other schools, and has developed relationships between MSHS and universities. “Another measurable impact is the work that Donald puts into preservice teachers—Donald is requested by a number of students every practicum, including one who was willing to travel two hours one-way to be guided by him,” Michael says. Congratulations Donald on your nomination.