From the Head of the Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann 


One of the areas of research that people may be familiar with is looking at performance and how to improve performance in a sustainable way.

Recently, there has been a shift in looking less at the final result and more of an emphasis on choosing to pay attention to the process and conditions of how we can perform optimally (or be in ‘flow’).

A common question to unpack this is to ask: “Under what conditions am I my best?”

In other words, what is happening around you? What kinds of things are you doing and feeling? What do you notice?

In our Effective Learner model, this is framed as being ‘ready to learn’, with the measurement being ‘engagement.’ 

I have previously written about how important it is to feel connected to ‘what is happening’ and your ‘sense of purpose’. To this end the work of psychologist Csikszentmihalyi on ‘flow’ teaches us that to perform optimally, we need to:

  • Be involved in an activity where our skills can match the task (not too hard, not too easy).
  • We need to have a goal or an ambition (this assists with motivation and the removal of distractions).
  • We need to have feedback on performance (particularly about how close we are to the goal).
  • We need to be able to concentrate (no distractions around us that take us away from the task at hand. We also need to commit to what we are doing).

I encourage you to share with your son a story about the conditions that you performed well in (when you were his age). What was that like? Perhaps he may offer you a story too!

On a side note

One of the tricky things that we discussed in a recent parent workshop (Teens and Technology) is that technology provides us with many of these conditions.

There is, however, one notable exception. Gaming does not actually develop any real personal goal. The goals aren’t fully intrinsically valuable.  

Dr Arne Rubenstein often talks of these ‘similar experiences’ of flow using the term ‘liminoid’ (from the work of anthropologist, Turner). These experiences – like excessive gaming and the engagement of technology – may appear to have very similar qualities, but participants are often left feeling depleted and drained, rather than renewed and enhanced (to flourish) as we are when we have goals that are real-world and community based.


Crowther Events

Parent Workshop Program

Our workshop program for parents is drawing to a close. We have one more workshop (PROSPER for Parents) remaining for Term 3. Book your place now to avoid missing out.

If you would like Crowther to present or explore the best research available on a certain topic, please contact us at:

PROSPER for Parents

A workshop for parents and guardians of boys from ELC-VCE.

The PROSPER model is our wellbeing framework at BGS and stands for: Positivity, Relationships, Outcomes, Strengths, Purpose, Engagement & Resilience.

This workshop will cover what the model is, how it is used at BGS, and how you can implement the language and framework in your home.

When:      Wednesday 12 September 4.00–5.00pm

Where:    Wellbeing Centre

How:         Book HERE