Australian students learn helpful ways to cope with stress through the 2022 Explain the Brain Challenge

‘Positive Coping’ was the 2022 theme for the annual ‘Explain the Brain’ challenge, designed to promote knowledge about brain health and function for young Australians.

With Melbourne students having endured 262 days of lockdown over the past two years; and students in all Australian states facing challenges related to online learning, health, social concerns and global issues, it is imperative that schools offer practical learning on adaptive strategies to manage stress.

Coping skills are strategies that people employ to respond to stressors or challenges. Learning how to respond in a helpful way increases resilience and positive feelings and reduces negative feelings and stress. The 2022 Explain the Brain Challenge provided an important forum for students to learn about how stress can impact the body and mind; and to identify coping techniques that can support people to manage stress more effectively.

Students were invited to create and submit a short original video or infographic explaining a program in their school or community that fosters adaptive coping, or, to propose an original idea that promotes positive coping for youth. Over 300 students from 68 schools across all Australian states engaged in the coping learning lessons, with nearly 100 students submitting entries for the challenge.

The challenge is an initiative of the Genazzano Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences and is hosted by partner, Education Perfect, which creates engaging content, sponsors prizes and promoted the lessons to 50,000 teachers across Australia.

This year we were thrilled to partner with Deakin University who was the major prize sponsor; and whose PhD candidates and researchers from the School of Psychology reviewed and judged the competition entries.
Dr Karen Caeyenberghs and Dr Tim Silk, Co Directors of the Deakin University Cognitive Neuroscience Unit shared some of the benefits of the challenge.
“Deakin University’s Cognitive Neuroscience Unit (School of Psychology) is delighted to work with the Genazzano Institute and Education Perfect to promote neuroscience and positive coping skills to young Australians”, they said.
“The competition entries were of a high standard and demonstrated that students had a good grasp on effective and productive ways to cope with stress and challenges in life”.
“We hope that this competition will inspire a new generation of researchers to add to our understanding of social, cognitive and affective human neuroscience”.

First prize of a $300 GiftPay card was awarded to Kayleigh F (Year 7, Cranebrook High School, NSW).
Excellence Prizes of $150 GiftPay cards were awarded to Tiare B (Year 7, Perth College, WA), Noah B (Year 10, Parramatta Marist High School, NSW) and Ellie R (Year 7, Cranebrook High School, NSW).
The Genazzano College Prizes were awarded to Rosaland Y (Year 7) and Hoi W (Year 9).
Congratulations to Parramatta Marist High School, who submitted 29 valid entries and received the $500 GiftPay prize for this section.

Education Perfect is an online learning platform enabling transformative teaching and learning experiences for lifelong learners. It is used by over 1 million students from more than 2,000 schools for their learning and revision and to improve student learning outcomes and magnify the value of a teacher in the classroom.

Deakin University is ranked among the very best in the world for its world-class facilities, research and teaching, as well as employability, innovation and inclusiveness. Within Deakin’s School of Psychology, the Cognitive Neuroscience Unit uses cutting-edge techniques to investigate the relationship between brain function, behaviour and cognition.

The Genazzano Institute of Learning & Brain Sciences is an educational initiative of Genazzano FCJ College to promote knowledge and practice in the evolving fields of learning and brain sciences for students, educators and the wider community.

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