Message from Scott Cowie, head, Senior Division
Thursday, Jan. 8: Course information evening for current Foundation Year students and their parents – Laidlaw Hall, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 18: Norval winter family open house – Norval Campus, 1 p.m.
Happy New Year and a warm welcome back to you and your son.
On Tuesday morning, during the first assembly of 2015, the boys heard from Dr. Mike Evans, a Toronto physician and U of T medical school professor, who has become somewhat of a YouTube sensation over the past few years. In an article published roughly a year ago, the Toronto Star reported that Evans’ viewer-friendly health education videos have attracted more than 8-million hits. With new content added monthly, I suspect Dr. Evans is well over that mark now. Here’s the link to his YouTube home page, a valuable resource that I suspect I’ll be visiting frequently.
Amidst throwing out prizes to students in the audience for correct answers to pop-quiz questions about health issues, Evans shared pertinent information about physical injuries, making good decisions about what we put into our bodies and about other matters of physical well-being. He also touched on the importance of paying attention to one’s emotional health, and the importance of maintaining a positive perspective. He cited statistics that show that people with a negative outlook tend to struggle more with health-related ailments than those who possess a positive disposition.
During a quick look at his website, I came across one video in particular that has much relevance during this time of year. In speaking on the effectiveness of New Year’s resolutions, surprisingly, Evans’ research shows that people who set goals to make positive change in their lives at the beginning of a new year experience a greater rate of success than those who make similar commitments at other times during the year. In speaking of the potential origins for our annual ritual of making resolutions, Evans points out that this time of year is a time for reflection and projection, “learning from the past but pointing to a new you, saying that’s where I want to go.”
In the brief but poignant five-minute video, Evans stresses the importance of being a reflective learner. Indeed, he claims that the “ability to reflect” is the key educational skill he aims to develop in his own students. Evans cites four characteristics that are integral to the process of reflective learning:
- To honestly identify personal strengths and weaknesses
- To be flexible
- To have clarity about priorities
- To balance optimism with realism
Here’s the link to Dr. Mike’s New Year’s resolutions video.
As your son looks to set goals related to his experience here at the College and/or attempts to make changes in his personal life, I’d encourage you to remind him about the importance of being a reflective learner and about maintaining a positive perspective.
Wishing you all the best for 2015.
Thanks for reading,