There is growing evidence to support the principles of positive education – a format of education that promotes not only academic progress but also recognises the importance of wellness for ongoing student success. However, knowing that student wellness has a meaningful impact on their performance is one thing; creating practices to enable it is another.
Best Practice with Data
The Economist Intelligence Study, sponsored by Microsoft Education, explores the advice of experts involved in the design and execution of best practices for wellness in education. Emphasis is placed on wellness in a digital era – that encompasses the risks and rewards of a technologically saturated environment. Data gathering is also important and is recognised as a cornerstone for establishing practices and procedures that will impact student success. Data into students’ mental and emotional health can help track whether supportive measures are working, with self-assessment surveys being an easy option for many schools to do this. Technologies that exist on tablets and smartphones can also digitalise data, and help educators visualise data to discover patterns.
If data mapping is well structured and designed, teachers and school leaders will be able to get ahead of any negative issues associated with wellbeing on their campus and take action before student success is affected. However, of the teachers surveyed by The Economist, 64% reported lacking the resources or time to support student wellbeing. 71% also believed that change needs to come from a leadership level – meaning that teachers require support to apply wellness policies in the classroom.
Supporting Best Practice
“Educators need to continue to build upon social and emotional learning as part of their mandate” states the Economist Intelligence Report. Dr Beckett, an expert involved with the study, writes that “I am against ‘programs’ because they don’t shift the way all people that work in schools think…I am pushing for schools to be systematic in their thinking around social and emotional learning.” This means that the best approach for supporting best practices for wellbeing in schools is to work with leaders, teachers, students, and families to address school climates, effective learning techniques, and construct an emotional charter to set the tone for a campus. An approach like this requires a comprehensive model and strategy, along with cohesive policies that not only support mental health but that ensure that it is a core component of the curriculum for both in-class and out-of-class activities.
However, what does this look like? Assemblies that discuss emotional wellbeing and appropriate online behaviour are good and have their place, but they do not inspire meaningful and ongoing change. Teachers need to be trained and supported to understand how technology is influencing education and wellbeing, and allowed to express their thoughts on how to adjust their curriculum to support not only academic success but mental health as well. This requires a holistic approach from school leaders and management, where they take the time to listen to the concerns of educators and consider what changes can be made on their campus that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the success of their students. By building wellbeing into the core structure of a school, educators can equip their faculty and take steps that prepare students to excel today as learners – and grow into the exceptional leaders we will require tomorrow.
Every school is different, and every campus is at a different stage in their digital transformation. At MOQdigital Education, we help schools make sure they are getting the most out of their technology investments and work to tailor solutions that have an ongoing, positive impact on the evolution of education in a digital era. Contact us to find out more.