Having listened to Mick Walsh, BScEd talk about his experience of bringing Wellbeing Education in the Classroom, I’m pleased to be able so share some of his thoughts with you. Mick Walsh is founder of Australia's leading student wellbeing programme, The Learning Curve and was recently interviewed as part of the Confident Child Summit. We review his ideas on how to bring wellbeing education into the classroom with some useful tips and resources!
Bringing Wellbeing into the Classroom - it starts with you!
Mick’s perspective on positive education is refreshing, with his thoughts and ideas rooted in his experience as a teacher and Senior Leader in school.
Mick is firm in his belief that a positive and happy classroom, starts with a happy and well looked after teacher.
“When the staff shone, our young people shone brighter.”
Creating a positive classroom, starts with empowering every teacher to shine and equipping each staff member with the tools and time to focus on their own wellbeing. Only when they’ve understood their own wellbeing will teachers be able to effectively support their children’s wellbeing. This connection between the teacher and student is essential for a young persons personal development.
My thoughts: Within the constraints of a busy timetable and a heavy workload, I appreciate how challenging taking time to focus on your own wellbeing can feel. However even small steps, such as taking 5 minutes to get some fresh air at lunchtime, making a coffee for a colleague or leaving school on time one day a week can really make a difference.
How can you bring positive wellbeing into your classroom?
Mick shared a few strategies which he has seen to be really effective at creating a positive classroom environment.
1. Fabulous first five minutes: the first five minutes of a lesson are the most important! Use this time to really get students positive emotions going; when you’re feeling positive and optimistic, you see more, take more in and learn more effectively.
2. Start the class with one of the 3 H’s: a handshake, hug or a high-five when the kids walk in the class.
3. End the class with one of the 3 A’s: ask yourself and your students the following questions - What do you appreciate? What was an ‘ah-ha’ moment? Is there anything I need to apologise for?
My Thoughts: The importance of framing your lesson positively from the beginning is clear. Think about how this might work within your classroom – could you greet every student at the door? Or do 30 seconds of star jumps to start your lesson and get the energy flowing? Or perhaps share a positive news story with your students at the beginning of the day? Try including some of these activities to help.
Mick ended his talk by sharing his 5 most important steps in teaching….
The 5 Most Important Steps in Teaching are the 5 steps before you walk into a classroom
It’s a privilege for me to be teaching these young people
The kids will know I’m kind, generous and forgiving
There will be no fear in my classroom
I don’t know it all, I want to find out what the kids know first
Wow, we’re going to have a ball!
My thoughts: After a busy day at school, it’s easy to forget why you were first motivated to become a teacher. Although teaching can be one of the most challenging jobs, it also has some of the most rewarding moments and each day you have the opportunity to inspire and learn from the children in your school. After a tough day, try and remind yourself of this and begin your next morning with 5 positive steps into your classroom!
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