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Wag Tales

Author: Megan Corcoran

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Wag Tales podcast is a series of conversations on all things trauma, healing, education and wellbeing.
Host of Wag Tales, Megan Corcoran is Director of Wagtail Institute, providing trauma-informed wellbeing consulting to schools and complex settings.
Megan believes in the power of story telling and engaging in great conversations as a way to learn, to grow and to take steps towards healing. In each episode, Megan invites a guest to share their story or to engage in a topical conversation with the goal of sharing best practice, new insights, and ideas to support those impacted by trauma to heal.
Megan is joined by a variety of guests including school principals, therapists, authors, artists and lived experience practitioners.
29 Episodes
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Rebecca Harris is the author of Safe to Learn: Embedding Trauma-Informed Student Wellbeing Practices. She also works as a counsellor and consultant. Rebecca has held various wellbeing roles in schools and is deeply passionate about supporting teachers to better understand the stress and needs of students (and themselves) to improve outcomes. Rebecca and Megan had not met before the day of recording; however, they discovered they view the world and education in very similar ways, both focusing on preventing and recovering from the impact of stress and adversity in schools. In this episode, Rebecca and Megan dive right into discussing the education system, sharing reflections from their experiences in schools and insights gained from their consulting work. Rebecca shares her vision of an ideal school where all students are included and appropriately supported. Both Rebecca and Megan acknowledge the incredibly innovative people working in schools, despite the challenges and limitations of the system itself. You can find Rebecca Harris's book, Safe to Learn, along with her counselling and consulting services here: Embedding Wellbeing. Rebecca's Instagram handle is: @embedding_wellbeing. Rebecca is speaking at Glenroy Library on supporting young people with anxiety. Free tickets can be found here: Eventbrite. Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, Wagtail Institute. The Wagtail Institute empowers schools and complex settings to become trauma-informed wellbeing communities of practice where everyone can thrive. We work alongside leaders, educators, and practitioners to respond to wellbeing challenges, enhance trauma-informed practice, and navigate pathways to healing. If you would like to work with Megan, head to our website or send an email to megan@megancorcoran.com.au. Wagtail Institute on Instagram: Wagtail Institute. This episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers' Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: Teachers' Well. Music by Kabbalistic Village: Kabbalistic Village.
Jen Willis is a mother, an educator, speaker, coach, and high altitude mountaineer with Multiple sclerosis (MS), who climbed Mount Everest in 2023. Jen's MS diagnosis began in 2008 after the birth of her third child, but wasn't formally confirmed until 10 years later. Upon receiving the formal diagnosis, Jen decided it was time to live her dream of mountaineering, knowing that MS may one day confine her to a wheelchair. Everest wasn't always the goal, but in an attempt to raise funds for MS research, Jen decided to go for it. Jen joined Megan on the podcast to share her story and the lessons learned along the way. In this episode, she is reflective, open, and vulnerable, sharing what it is like to physically and mentally prepare to climb Everest, recognising the place of the ego, and the emotional (and financial) attachment that comes with such a journey. Jen came so close to reaching the summit, but in a dramatic and emotional turn of events, she missed out and had to turn back after reaching the 4th, and final camp (above 8000m's). The most important lessons for Jen have come after returning home and experiencing a depression that Jen now refers to as the "abyss." Jen speaks of the irony of identifying so strongly with being on the top of a mountain, only to find more of herself after climbing out of the depths of the abyss. There is a lot we can all learn from Jen's story and she is an incredible storyteller, so this is definitely worth a listen. Jen is now working towards her new business, “Climb your mountain”- so, you may like to connect with Jen via her LinkedIn to follow along: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jen-willis-0b08a251/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Wagtail Institute empowers schools and complex settings to become trauma-informed wellbeing communities of practice where everyone can thrive. We work alongside leaders, educators, and practitioners to respond to wellbeing challenges, enhance trauma-informed practice, and navigate pathways to healing. The episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers' Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: https://www.teacherswell.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Belinda Jankowiak is an Occupational Therapist (OT), zealous child advocate, and founder of Project Classroom, where she supports educators to create classroom spaces that are soothing and meet the needs of all students and teachers. Belinda has worked alongside educators for over 20 years and shares the science behind the work in ways that are accessible and applicable for all. Megan and Belinda have been following each other's work for awhile and Megan was eager to dive into a conversation with Belinda after always wanting to learn more about regulation from the OT perspective. In this episode, Belinda and Megan discuss the importance of classroom design to support the nervous systems of children, young people and educators, considering things like the noise levels and acoustics, and the visual stimulation of bright colours and classroom displays. Belinda shares some great tips for school leaders to consider, and ideas for teachers with minimal budgets to set up their classrooms. Belinda also shares the importances of incorporating movement into the school day and some strategies to regulate children and young people. Belinda mentions the work of Dr Stuart Shanker on self-reg, which can be found here: https://self-reg.ca/ To learn more about Project Classroom and to get in touch with Belinda, you can access her work here: https://projectclassroom.com.au/ Belinda's LinkedIn is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/belinda-jankowiak-35a92855/ Project Classroom on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/projectclassroomau?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet&igsh=ZDNlZDc0MzIxNw== Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Wagtail Institute empowers schools and complex settings to become trauma-informed wellbeing communities of practice where everyone can thrive. We work alongside leaders, educators, and practitioners to respond to wellbeing challenges, enhance trauma-informed practice, and navigate pathways to healing. The episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers' Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: https://www.teacherswell.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Liam Wood is a parent, teacher, school leader, and Director at Cor Effect. Liam's career in education began as he was working in education support while writing a book and he realised he loved the time in the classroom more than the time spent writing. He dived right into teaching through the Teach For Australia (TFA) program, having real experience in the classroom while completing his studies. Since then, Liam has dedicated himself to supporting students most in need, working in schools experiencing disadvantage, coaching teachers in the TFA program, and then spending some years teaching and leading in the Alternative sector. Megan and Liam first met in 2019, working alongside each other in an alternative school. They talk about Liam's first group of students in an alternative setting and how Megan felt imposter syndrome being appointed as Liam's instructional coach. In this episode, Megan and Liam also discuss the importance of trauma-informed approaches to leadership, recognising the experience of staff when they are exposed to trauma in the workplace. Liam shares insights into instructional coaching and the importance of having time for 1:1 support. Megan and Liam both share their own experiences of managing their stress responses and the (effective or not so effective) strategies they have used along the way. Liam recommends the following 2 books: You're not listening, Kate Murphy https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/45892276 The checklist manifesto, Atul Gwande https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6667514-the-checklist-manifesto To learn more about the work happening at Cor Effect, you can visit their website: https://www.coreffect.com.au/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Wagtail Institute empowers schools and complex settings to become trauma-informed wellbeing communities of practice where everyone can thrive. We work alongside leaders, educators, and practitioners to respond to wellbeing challenges, enhance trauma-informed practice, and navigate pathways to healing. The episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers' Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: https://www.teacherswell.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Martin Bisp is the co-founder of Empire Fighting Chance, a boxing gym in the UK that provides Boxing Therapy to vulnerable young people. In 1972, Empire Amateur Boxing Club opened in Bristol, producing a long line of champion boxers, and like most boxing gyms, have a strong community. In 2006, the direction of the club took an unplanned turn when Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar decided to have a conversation with 2 young people who were dealing drugs across the road from the gym. To try and get them off the street, Martin and Jamie invited them in for an impromptu session with the invitation to come back in any time. The young people did come back, bringing friends along each time and before they knew it, Martin and Jamie were working (for free) with 50 young people, 5 days per week. From there, schools started to approach them to engage some young people experiencing challenges in schools and the police also started to refer young people. It became clear to Martin and Jamie that they needed to build something sustainable that could reach as many young people as possible. Empire Fighting Chance officially became a charity, which now supports over 5,000 young people per year. They now offer 4 psychologically-informed boxing programs, delivered by qualified therapists. In this episode, Martin shares what they have learned along the way, the ways in which they evaluate their impact and how they learn from their failures. It's helpful to hear from someone like Martin who applies an analytical lens to the work, ensuring it meets the intended outcomes, informed by the young people. Martin also shares some of the success stories of the young people who have engaged in the program, seeing some young people return to school, start university, leave gangs or even now be employed by Empire themselves. Empire Fighting Chance now train other boxing gyms and therapists around the world in the application of Boxing Therapy. If you are interested in taking on the training you can contact them by emailing info@empirefightingchance.org To learn more about the work of Empire and see the incredible impact, you can visit their website: https://empirefightingchance.org/ or find them on social media. Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ SOS Palestine is an NGO and not for profit that was established in 1966 to support children and young people at risk due to family breakdown or the loss of a parent. They offer programmes to strengthen families and to provide out of home care services in Gaza and the West Bank. As you can imagine, they are currently working harder than ever, and financial support is needed. You can learn more about their work or donate by visiting https://www.sos-palestine.org/ The episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers' Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: https://www.teacherswell.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
David Cerrone is a comedian, clown, actor, teacher, humanitarian, art therapist, and author who travelled the world to understand laughter. In 2016, David set off on a 12-month adventure with the plan to visit 11-12 countries, volunteer, meet people and create a documentary along the way. In 2016, Megan also set off on an adventure, which led her to cross paths with David while they were both volunteering as teachers in Palestine. Megan and David bonded quickly, sharing a deep connection to education and a curiosity to learn more about life through relationships and travel. In this episode, David shares stories and lessons from his project, which took him further than originally planned and kept him on the road for 3 years. He talks about using humour to connect with others, break down barriers, and share healing moments, explaining the philosophy behind clowning. David has taken his work to kindergartens, schools, hospitals, refugee camps and prisons and speaks about the universality of humour. David has been off the road for the past few years, choosing to study art therapy to deepen his knowledge and give a formal name to the work he was doing. He talks about the healing impact this work can have with long-term practice, going beyond the brief moments on the road, to developing sustained relationships with his clients to see some transformation occur. David is an incredible storyteller, hence why this episode is a little longer. You could spend 3 days listening to his tales and having a laugh! You can learn more about David and his work on his Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/davidcerrone/) and on his YouTube channel. Here is a little snippet of his time in Palestine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT1NChpKSzg On February 28th, Megan is hosting an online workshop to support practitioners working with people who have experienced trauma. This is well suited to teachers, youth workers, social workers, or those who would like to be more trauma-informed. You can find out more and register for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/757450373457?aff=oddtdtcreator SOS Palestine is an NGO and not for profit that was established in 1966 to support children and young people at risk due to family breakdown or the loss of a parent. They offer programmes to strengthen families and to provide out of home care services in Gaza and the West Bank. As you can imagine, they are currently working harder than ever, and financial support is needed. You can learn more about their work or donate by visiting https://www.sos-palestine.org/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
In this episode, Graeme Baird and Megan Corcoran come together to discuss the Senate Inquiry on disruptive behaviour in Australian schools. Both Graeme and Megan are passionate about this topic, having worked extensively with young people who present with behaviour that could be considered “disruptive.” To try and make sense of the inquiry, Graeme and Megan unpack the 2 approaches used by schools and in various settings with young people. The first approach they refer to is behaviourism (the more traditional approach), and the other is the trauma-informed approach. They spend the episode combating the myths, the criticisms, the potential misuse of these approaches, and the unexpected similarities. We'd like to invite you to add to this conversation by sharing your thoughts or questions with us on Linked In. You can do so by connecting with Megan: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-corcoran-a5ab1738/ If you missed Graeme's first appearance on the Wag Tales, you can find him in Episode 4 on all platforms. In Episode 4 we discuss the importance of mentorship and the role Graeme played as Megan's mentor throughout her career. More on Graeme's work can be found here: https://mcalpineb.com.au/ The report from this Senate Inquiry is scheduled for February 7: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/DASC Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://www.wagtailinstitute.com/ The episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers' Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: https://www.teacherswell.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Marissa (Riss) Williamson Pohlman is a proud Ngarrindjeri woman, who was raised on Wadawurrung Country in Victoria and very recently became the first Aboriginal woman to qualify for the sport of boxing in the Olympics. At the 2023 Australian Elite Boxing Championships in August, she also made history being the first woman to win the Arthur Tunstall Trophy, which is given to the best boxer at the tournament. She will be representing Australia at the 2024 Olympics and has started a very busy training regime to prepare. But, Riss is so much more than boxing. In this episode, Riss very openly talks about her childhood, having lived in 16 foster care homes, experiencing homelessness, and attending 6 different high schools. Riss explains that a high school principal gave her one more chance if she was to sign a behaviour contract and take up a sport, which at the time, was AFL. It was through one of her foster carers that Riss discovered the sport of boxing and she has never looked back. At just 21, Riss is wise beyond her years. She shares some great tips for teachers and schools to consider when working with traumatised young people. She also talks about how damaging the foster care experience can be for young people, particularly for First Nations young people when they are not placed with their community and without connection to their culture. She talks about her adoptive Mum being someone to look up to, who has given her a home and made her boxing career possible. Unfortunately, in the Australian sporting context, athletes do not receive a wage to compete for Australia and are merely supported financially to attend the games. Riss' Olympic journey can only happen through the generosity and support of sponsors and donations. Riss has a Go Fund Me page which can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/marissas-road-to-the-paris-olympics?member=31550049&sharetype=teams&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer You can follow Riss' journey on her instragram: https://www.instagram.com/risswillpohl/ The episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: https://www.teacherswell.com/ SOS Palestine is an NGO and not for profit that was established in 1966 to support children and young people at risk due to family breakdown or the loss of a parent. They offer programmes to strengthen families and to provide out of home care services in Gaza and the West Bank. As you can imagine, they are currently working harder than ever, and financial support is needed. You can learn more about their work or donate by visiting https://www.sos-palestine.org/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
This episode of the Wag Tales is a special edition to shed light on life in Palestine. In this episode, Megan is joined by one of her favourite people and good friends, the first Palestinian she met when she visited the region. This guest is the BEST tour guide in Palestine, an almost 35-year-old, living just outside of Bethlehem with his wife and 2 children. The first time Megan visited the West Bank, she was with a group of friends, and they did not have a lot of time to navigate the best way to visit, so they spontaneously booked a tour guide. They got lucky and were provided with the best guide you could possibly have, spending the day learning so much and laughing at all his stories and jokes. They ended up spending more than one day with him on this trip, visiting most of the cities in the West Bank. When Megan planned to return to the area to live in Nablus, she was welcomed with a lot of support and friendship (much more like family) from him and his family in Bethlehem. In this episode, the guest shares the story of how him and his wife met and married, despite the complication of holding different identification cards. His wife was a Palestinian born in East Jerusalem, making her an Israeli resident (not a citizen), which provides her with an Israeli ID card and means she must live in areas under Israeli control. He was born in Bethlehem, meaning he holds a Palestinian ID card and is not permitted to live in Israeli controlled areas, yet they chose to marry and face the complication of this situation together. He explains how he has needed to apply for permits to be present at the birth of both of his daughters and shares how complicated this has been both times. They also talk about how different the situation in the West Bank is now to when Megan was there previously. He explains how it takes him approximately 2 hours to travel the 7km to visit his parents and how Palestinians are having their phones broken or they are being assaulted by soldiers at the check points. Megan reflects on the times they spent together when she lived in the West Bank and they talk about the time that he was booked to give a tour to our very own, Tony Abbott... You'll notice this guest has a wonderful sense of humour, he explains that as a Palestinian you either choose to laugh at the situation and see life as an adventure or you might have a heart attack. The episode is brought to you by our sponsor, Teachers Well. You can learn more about their work or purchase a compass journal here: https://www.teacherswell.com/ Our guest mentions the power of boycotting and shares this as an action that anyone can take. Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a strategy initiated in 2005 by 170 Palestinian civil society organisations calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel's government and those entities which support and benefit from its actions in relation to Palestinians, until such time as the Israeli government abides by international law and Palestinians are given the rights and freedoms they are entitled to. You can find out how to effectively do this here: https://bdsaustralia.net.au/ SOS Palestine is an NGO and not for profit that was established in 1966 to support children and young people at risk due to family breakdown or the loss of a parent. They offer programmes to strengthen families and to provide out of home care services in Gaza and the West Bank. As you can imagine, they are currently working harder than ever, and financial support is needed. You can learn more about their work or donate by visiting https://www.sos-palestine.org/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Content warning: In this episode we discuss the topic of suicide and mental illness. If you or someone you know is struggling, please seek professional support. If you are in Australia, you can call LifeLine 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636. Shane Kelton is an author, speaker, podcaster, personal trainer, husband, and parent of 2 boys. He recently published his book “I didn't want to die, I just wanted the pain to end” which shares his personal struggle with mental illness and suicidal tendencies throughout his teenage years and early adulthood. The book shares some helpful strategies and hopeful insights for others who are experiencing struggle and for those who are providing care to someone else. In this episode, Shane shares what is has been like to publish the book and to speak at various events, organisations, and schools. Megan and Shane discuss some of the misconceptions that can be held around talking about suicide and how ‘not talking about it' was one of the biggest risks to Shane's life. He shares that he hid his struggle from his friends and family, literally hiding from others in his tough moments, to then mask positivity in front of them. Shane now does the complete opposite, sharing his story and modelling vulnerability for others in a hope they don't go through what he went through. He shares that he is living his dream life, acknowledging there are still hard days, he just now has appropriate strategies and tools to work through it- including telling his support network when he hits a tough day! Megan and Shane discuss the ways in which approaches around parenting have changed and how important co-regulation and connection is. They also talk about how the school system hasn't changed enough for someone who may be experiencing struggle. You can find Shane's book here: https://powerstrengthvulnerability.com.au/book/ You can get in touch with Shane through his website: https://powerstrengthvulnerability.com.au/ or his Instagram: shane_kelton Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
This episode of the Wag Tales is a special edition, unlike other episodes you may have previously heard. In this episode, Megan is joined by her good friend, Yahya. Yahya is a Palestinian man, and an optimist, living in Ramallah in the West Bank, Palestine. He has studied extensively and worked several different jobs, including as an Accountant, a researcher, and an advocate for workers' rights. Megan and Yahya met when he received a scholarship to come to Australia and study social sciences and community development a few years ago. Megan lived in Nablus in the West Bank in 2016, teaching English to high school students in local villages, and to women starting their own businesses in Nablus. Megan met some lifelong friends while living in Palestine and cannot put into words the level of care and friendship extended to her during her stay. Megan and Yahya did not meet while she was living there, however, when he received his scholarship, some mutual friends put them in touch, and they met several times while Yahya was in Australia on his scholarship. In this episode, Yahya shares what the day-to-day life in the West Bank is currently like. He talks about the challenges of travelling between villages and cities, the violence from Israeli settlers, and the experience of those being arrested and imprisoned. Yahya shares some personal experiences and some challenges his family has recently faced in their village. He also shares his optimistic side and how embracing day-to-day life, despite the struggle of occupation, is their own way of resistance. Yahya recommends checking out these sources for more information and education on Palestine: Visualising Palestine: https://visualizingpalestine.org/ The Palestine Academy: https://www.thepalestineacademy.com/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Dr Peggy Kern is a Professor at the Centre for Wellbeing Science at Melbourne University, with a BA in Psychology, and a Masters and PhD in social/personality psychology. If you were to start reading some academic papers or recent texts on wellbeing science or positive psychology, you would quickly come across Peggy's name! Peggy and Megan met in 2018 while Megan was completing her Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at Melbourne University and was completing her capstone on belonging. In this episode, Peggy shares how the field of positive psychology is currently in what is referred to as the “third wave”, where the idea of complexity is being more widely recognised and explored. Peggy explains the way wellbeing is defined, experienced, and measured is changing, how AI can assist with future research, and how systems thinking is continuing to be explored. Peggy also shares her own story of moving to Australia, working in high pressure environments, and her recent experiences with mental illness. Peggy publicly shares her experiences as she recognises that others can learn from her story and take their own steps to manage their self-care. She highlights that this is particularly important for those also working in wellbeing roles where care is given to others. Peggy talks about the treatment she received while in hospital and how this has guided her thinking around what the general population should be learning about psychology and therapeutic practices. Megan and Peggy discuss some of the wellbeing strategies that Peggy now implements in her day-to-day life, including self-compassion, informal mindfulness, time with her puppy, and gratitude. Peggy also engages in endurance sports, having completed 12 marathons and numerous long-distance running, swimming, and cycling events. You can find out more about Peggy and her research here: https://www.peggykern.org/ If you are wanting to learn more on self-compassion, Kristen Neff's work can be found here: https://self-compassion.org/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Kristy Elliott is a consultant leading the way in restorative practices in schools through her work with Restorative Pathways. Kristy is a wife, a parent, a lifelong teacher, and a lifelong learner who has dedicated her work to the wellbeing of students and staff in schools. Megan and Kristy met towards the end of 2022, while both working as external consultants on a project. They have had the pleasure of collaborating in various ways for the past twelve months, often bouncing ideas between them. In this episode, Kristy shares the story of how she learned (and quickly led) restorative practices in schools early in her teaching career. She breaks down the definitions and explains how schools started adopting this work to support communities where harm between students had occurred. Kristy explains how restorative practices can support student and teacher wellbeing and she provides some tips on how we can bring parents and caregivers on the journey, too. Megan and Kristy share some stories of managing student conflict, repairing relationships in schools, and they discuss the importance of adults also engaging in these practices. You can find more on Kristy and Restorative Pathways here: https://restorativepathways.com.au/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Marie McLeod is Founder of ThriveAbility and How to Thrive program, Creator of the BEACON framework™️, Mental health specialist, Keynote Speaker, Coach, and positive psychotherapist as seen in the "How to Thrive" film. Marie has been a social worker in child protection, juvenile justice, disability services, and neighbourhood renewal. Megan and Marie had not met prior to recording the podcast, despite realising a lot of their work history has some cross over. In the ‘How to Thrive' film, Marie takes a group of volunteers who are experiencing struggle through a program using interventions grounded in positive psychology, neuroscience, and wellbeing science. In this episode, Marie shares what it was like to support the group, how the Melbourne lockdowns hit at the same time as the program, and the importance of creating safety and connection between the participants. Marie shares some of the outcomes the participants experienced, all exceeding the expectations of those working on the film. Megan and Marie discuss some of the gaps of the PERMA wellbeing framework and how Marie worked to create the BEACON framework for thriving. Marie shares her personal journey of finding positive psychology at a time when she was experiencing struggle herself. She explains that she found herself accessing services that were problem focused and not necessarily helpful. Marie explains that positive psychology provided her with a new lens of “what is strong?” rather than “what is wrong?” and has been applying it to her life and work ever since. Megan highly recommends watching How to Thrive. The film (and extra resources) can be accessed here: https://www.howtothrivefilm.com/ More on Marie McLeod can be found here: https://www.mariemcleod.com/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Matthew Hartnett is an AFL Talent League Wellbeing Coordinator and a long-term teacher, with a passion for supporting those he interacts with to develop skills and resources for their mental health. Megan and Matt first met in 2018 while both studying their Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. Megan remembers Matt saying it was his dream to one day work for the AFL in a wellbeing role. Matt now gets to live this dream, working with under 18 AFL hopefuls on their wellbeing, through whole team initiatives and 1:1 support. In this episode, Matt talks about the importance of wellbeing on performance, whether it be sport performance or performing in other roles we take on. He shares some of the strategies he uses with the football team, including character strengths, mindfulness, positive relationships, and a balanced approach to their aspirations. He talks about the powerful moments shared when the boys all meditate together before a match. While taking on his dream job, Matt continues to work in a school as a Year 5/6 Coordinator, still speaking with a lot of passion for education after 25 years in the field. Matt suggests that the key to his longevity in education is through having a strong community, using the school holidays to recharge, and ensuring he has variety in the roles he takes on. Matt also talks about his beautiful family, sharing what it is like raising 3 daughters (who are luckily into sport), and how growing up with a brother with down syndrome taught Matt a lot about empathy, wellbeing, and love. Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Penny Netherwood joins us on the podcast all the way from Leeds in the UK. Leeds is currently working towards becoming a trauma-informed city, known as ‘Compassionate Leeds.' Penny is a consultant clinical psychologist and the health co-lead for the Compassionate Leeds project. Megan first came across the work happening in Leeds when some of Penny's colleagues attended a Wagtail Institute webinar. As soon as Megan heard about Compassionate Leeds, she knew she needed to learn as much as possible from the people behind the project. In this episode, Penny shares the ambitious vision for Leeds to work collectively as a trauma-informed city, where children, young people, and families feel safe and can thrive. Leeds is taking a cross-sector approach, where people working in education, health, social work, and community sectors come together to collectively roll out the strategy. Penny explains the careful consideration and intention behind the language being used in the project, unpacking terms like “trauma,” “trauma-informed,” and the “compassionate approach.” Megan and Penny discuss some of the key factors that made this possible in Leeds and discuss the importance of slowing down and considering appropriate implementation across systems. Penny shares that the Compassionate Leeds project is moving beyond just providing trauma-informed training, and is using a more responsive, and needs-focused approached. Penny and Megan acknowledge that trauma-informed practice is not just one-off training, but is constant and intentional work. More on Compassionate Leeds can be found here: https://www.mindmate.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Stage-1-Trauma-informed-strategy-doc-5.pdf Penny mentions Myron Rogers and “Myron's Maxims” which will be of interest to those considering systems thinking. https://www.leadershipcentre.org.uk/team-enabler/myron-rogers/ Myron's Maxims are included here: People own what they help create Real change happens in real work Those who do the work, do the change Connect the system to more of itself Start anywhere, follow everywhere The process you use to get to the future is the future you get. Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Mat Rad is “two feet and heartbeat”, using boxing as a vehicle to support mental health. Mat is a boxing coach and advocate for healthy masculinity, movement, and mental health. He coaches a variety of people, from high school groups, first time boxers, through to those competing in the sport. It is through boxing that Megan and Mat met, and both acknowledge the benefits of the sport on their own health and personal development. In this episode, Mat shares his own story of struggling with mental health and experiencing panic attacks while working a corporate job. He sheds light on how we often separate physical symptoms from mental health experiences and chase an easy fix. Just over 12 months ago, Mat experienced the loss of his Mum and Grandmother just days apart, giving him the push to drastically change his situation. Mat sold his possessions and spent months hiking his way through Tasmania while processing his grief. He speaks with an incredible insight and gratitude for his experiences, but is honest about the conscious effort, the professional support, and practice he puts in place to hold this mindset. Mat is passionate about mental health for all, with a particular focus on healthy masculinity. He talks about the importance of vulnerability and connection for men (of all ages). While Mat and Megan discuss some heavy topics, this episode is also filled with a lot of laughter and boxing puns, too. You can look into training with Mat by contacting him on his Instagram (@mr_mat_rad) or checking out his workplace here: https://tributeboxing.com.au/ This episode is sponsored by Teachers' Well: https://www.teacherswell.com/ Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Dr Tom Brunzell is the Director of Education at Berry Street and Honourary Fellow at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education. He has experience as a teacher, school leader, author, researcher, and education advisor. Tom and Megan first met 13 years ago when Tom arrived in Melbourne to begin working with Berry Street. Megan was a teacher with the Berry Street School at the time. In this episode, Tom shares how he started out as a teacher in The Bronx, New York, and then moved into school leadership in Harlem, working alongside Martin Seligman in the early stages of positive education. He eventually moved to Melbourne and joined the team at Berry Street, establishing the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) and diving deeper into research around trauma-informed positive-education. Tom and Megan discuss the place of wellbeing science in schools, particularly for students who have experienced trauma (and their teachers), and they share some of their favourite research and interventions. Tom explains his approach towards finding “balance in the work," rather than chasing “work-life balance.” We hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed recording it! More on the Berry Street Education Model can be found here: https://www.berrystreet.org.au/learning-and-resources/berry-street-education-model Tom's co-authored book; Creating trauma-informed, strengths-based classrooms; can be found here: https://www.berrystreet.org.au/shop/products/creating-trauma-informed-strengths-based-classrooms Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Michael Stainlay is a Transitions Advocate and Team Leader within a youth justice custodial setting. Michael has been a youth worker in alternative education settings for over 12 years, supporting some of the most vulnerable young people in Queensland and Victoria. He is passionate about holding high expectations of all young people and supporting them to reach their potential. In this episode, Michael shares his journey from retail into youth work and how leaders in his early career supported him to develop his practice. He talks about the importance of being authentic and empowering young people when engaging in this work. Megan and Michael reflect on their time working in leadership together and learning from each other's practice (and also running a half marathon together). They discuss the importance of all young people having adults who believe in them, and who will advocate for them. While some young people have been charged and convicted of crimes, we challenge you to: - remember they are children - consider the type of adults you'd like them to become in our communities - consider what it might take to get them there For those interested in learning about Eliud Kipchoge, here is a link to the documentary trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiI7eUX6o8U iud KipchogeEliud KipchogeEliud Kipchoge Host: Megan Corcoran, Wagtail Institute, https://wagtailinstitute.com/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
Megan Corcoran is the Director of the Wagtail Institute (www.wagtailinstitute.com) and the host of the Wag Tales Podcast. The Wagtail Insitute provides trauma-informed wellbeing consulting to schools and complex settings to enhance trauma-informed practice and the wellbeing of these unique communties. Prior to her work with the Wagtail Institute, Megan spent 12 years teaching and leading in Alternative schools for young people who had experienced childhood trauma and signifcant disadvantage. This episode is a reverse role podcast where Megan jumps in the seat of the guest and dives more deeply into sharing some of her work and the journey to where she is today. Shayne Hood (guest from Episode 2) kindly jumps back in the studio and takes the role of the host, firing the tough questions Megan's way. Megan and Shayne discuss why Megan started the Wagtail Institute, her previous experience in Alternative schools and some of the childhood experiences that have guided Megan along the way. Megan explains how she believes that every young person deserves to have a magical childhood and how each career change has been a values led decisison. Shayne and Megan discuss where positive psychology fits in trauma-affected settings and they share some of their own personal wellbeing practices. More about Megan's work: www.wagtailinstitute.com Host: Shayne Hood, https://www.shaynehood.com.au/ Music by Kabbilistic Village https://kabbalisticvillage.com/
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