SCHOOL DAY

-Parempia koulupäiviä

Five Tips Towards Classroom Wellbeing

Five Tips Towards Classroom Wellbeing

Currently, there's a shift in the schools to focus on wellbeing in the classroom more and more. Schools in the UK have begun to implement a wellbeing curriculum into many schools throughout the UK whereby students will be introduced to issues around mental health, wellbeing and happiness from the beginning of primary school.

However, there's no simple solution when it comes to having a positive classroom with positive students yet there are many factors which attribute to this. 

Democratic Classroom

A democratic classroom is whereby all students and teachers have a choice on how the classroom should function and leads to a harmonious working environment for all.

This means that when it comes to decision making on how students should learn, for example, that all contribute with the direction.

This gives all a sense of inclusion as wellbeing cannot foster when students feel they are excluded. Therefore, a democratic classroom allows students to feel they are important contributing members of their classroom and belonging which is a major factor to wellbeing for students.

A democratic classroom also gives students more responsibility with how the class moves forward which in turn softens the authority figure the teacher may have been and be more approachable to students.

For example, in my class, students complained that the classroom could be too noisy to concentrate s during our morning meetings. With this information, when the class became too noisy after this announcement, I told the class that we should be quiet and let's respect their wishes as they have a right to learn. This allowed me as a teacher to not be the authority figure that students will abide and dislike but only a voice expressing students' wishes

Student-centered teaching

Student centered teaching can be seen quite similar to a democratic classroom yet student centered doesn't need to be democratic. Student centered teaching is easier to implement as the classroom management can be the same with only the teaching style needing to be altered. For example, student centered can be a teacher who creates personalized learning by observing students' interests and strengths.

A teacher can show their empathy towards students through a student-centered learning approach. For wellbeing to develop, we need to create an orderly environment whereby students can work in and the other is to support the social-emotional learning of the student. A teacher who creates a student centred style of a classroom would take both of these purposes into account while a teacher who creates a teacher centred classroom would only focus on the first purpose.

Voice

We all know that without the right understanding of how to deal with emotions that emotions can become toxic. Boys especially have the issues that when emotions are not expressed, it in turn leads to anger and violent behaviour.

Therefore, students need opportunities to be able to express themselves in a safe place whereby others will show active learning and empathy.

Also, by doing this, other classmates can understand and sympathies with their fellow students. Bullying often occurs when others don't understand each other. By allowing students to have a voice and express their anxieties and concerns can break down the walls between each other and leads to a mutual understanding. 

Humour

In every classroom I have visited, the class in which the teacher can laugh along with the students radiates a positive and happy working environment. The laughter removes all the barriers between student and teacher and allows them to share the same joke and be able to appreciate it together.

In these classrooms, there seems to be less tension and a generally positive vibe with students and teachers. As Berk mentions, "Humor opens up communication that's not based on fear or intimidation. Instead, communication is positive, constructive, and relaxed; it continuously ebbs and flows all over the classroom… A bonding rapport develops between you and your students that is founded on respect, trust, and fun."

The positivity that laughter brings into the classroom is infectious. Positivity plays a major role when it comes to a student's wellbeing as

Without a positive environment and taking pleasure from learning, students will become bored, anxious, and anything but engaged. They ultimately learn to feel bad about school and lose the joy they once felt. 

Punishing students

When an issue arises in class such as bullying, my first instinct was to set a punishment as we all want to see justice.

However, the more punishments delivered, the more likely the wellbeing of a classroom will be reduced.

When a teacher has a firm control over a class that hands out punishments, students tend to stop reporting their concerns or issues as it could create further friction between students. Also, students may feel that they may get a punishment as they were involved in the situation in some way as well.

Also, there may be times when punishments are necessary but can be done in an empathetic manner. This can lessen the chance of the student getting upset and angry. This anger is thought to be a sign of even more rebellion from the child rather than conformity which was the teacher's reason to discipline the student in the first place.

A student's sense of wellbeing is closely connected with their relationship with the teacher is. Therefore, how the teacher deals with students when disciplining is crucial. 

Marcus Sheehan

Pedagogigal Designer
Kouluhyvinvointia Gulfin alueelle
School Day pilot in Malaysia