Dec 22, 2009 Teaching 2778 Views
Teaching strategies for developing wellbeing
There are different things to think about in the classroom when it comes to developing wellbeing for everyone. Since this concept is becoming increasingly relevant to many of the governments agendas; particularly those for Every Child Matters and No Child Left Behind it is a good time to be considering just how we build wellbeing everyday in the way we teach. Wellbeing usually means the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state of each person. Obviously the intent is that this is strong and positive for everyone but as we know well this isn't the case in any group of people. there will be some who are having a dip on at least one of these aspects and some who will be low on all of them. Interestingly wellbeing can be improved by having, not only improvements in physical conditions and the general quality of life, but also by increasing the number of opportunities for personal growth. This is an area where teaching strategies can be utilised easily as most topics and teaching styles can include a small amount of time spent on considering what this means to a child personally and what they might want to do about it if it is something they feel passionate about. This self reflection is an excellent way to develop personal strengths ad awareness.
There are three main areas to be checking out
The class climate or culture
Our own wellbeing
The physical environment
The class climate is how cooperative and cohesive the group are as a whole - which of course includes the teacher and any other adults in the class as well. How well do people get on, is the attitude in the group positive and encouraging without being scared of challenge. In short it is to do with how pessimistic or optimistic everyone is and how well they live out the values that are embedded in the class. Typically these include things like respect for self and others, sharing, honesty etc. Teaching strategies that encourage all of this include:
Group work, circle time, expressive arts included in delivering some topics, specific teaching of communication and negotiation skills to the group, games that are not competitive.
Our own wellbeing is a given. If we are not feeling on top of our game, or at least near the top we will send out subtle vibes that say 'don't wind me up, I can't take it today', or 'i am too fragile at the moment, be careful with me.' At an energetic level we will be sending out messages of anger, distress, anxiety or frustration which will not help things in the great mix of energies that make up the group. It is really important that we take our wellbeing seriously and make sure we are rested, relaxed and having fun in our lives and our classrooms so that our own inner resilience, optimism and strength come across in any teaching strategy we might use.
Finally the physical environment does make a big difference to wellbeing as obviously a small, poky, dirty and unpleasant room will bring people's spirits down. Doing what you can to make sure that there are different areas for different activities or styles of learning can help, even in circumstances that are less than ideal. Making a reading place, a movement place and creating the option for some learners to be working near natural light whilst others can work in dimmer lighting. Differentiating the environment in this way is another way to think about delivering an inclusive curriculum for your group and improving wellbeing too.
Tools to baseline wellbeing in the classroom and school are available online and can be useful starting points to making this a focus in any school where this has been written into the development plans.
Article source: http://eslarticle.com/pub/teaching/3929-teaching-strategies.html