How much does your school focus on mental wellbeing as a means to improve student learning outcomes?
You may be aware of the growing body of research suggesting that the connection between mental health and academic achievement is far stronger than we previously thought. When students learn and grow in an open, nurturing environment, they’re more likely to create positive social interactions, engage with teachers and staff, and achieve higher and more consistent results.
But as a school leader, what can you do to create a positive school environment and support student wellbeing on an individual level? How do you build greater trust between students and staff, which encourages those in need to speak out?
Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Why Is It So Important to Monitor Student Wellbeing?
2020 has been a challenging year in education. With COVID-19 sweeping the world and remote learning becoming the new normal, schools must be proactive in their approach to student mental health and wellbeing.
“Leading national education organizations recognize the close relationship between health and education, as well as the need to foster health and wellbeing within the educational environment for all students.” —CDC Health & Academics Report
Modern-day students face many unique challenges, such as the newfound pressures of social media, growing workloads, and the increasingly competitive demands of maintaining educational performance.
These and other factors put students at risk of becoming overwhelmed, disconnected, and isolated, affecting not only their mental health but also their academic success. To improve both wellbeing and learning outcomes, schools need to take more proactive measures to monitor, appraise, and assist students by using simple tools that remove the barriers of engagement.
Identify and Support Students Who Need Help the Most
Many schools have traditionally used annual surveys to collect data about student wellbeing, resulting in outdated feedback that could have been acted upon much earlier. By improving the mode and frequency of your feedback—such as using weekly digital check-ins—your school can take a far more proactive approach and identify students who need urgent attention. Sometimes, it’s the students you least expect who will reach out for help.
Such digital monitoring mechanisms also benefit the school population at large; even students who don’t need assistance become part of an enriched culture that demonstrates a commitment to their mental health, development, and academic success. This nurturing environment helps make pupils feel more comfortable and engaged while maintaining a stronger focus on school work.
Build Stronger Trust between Students and Staff
Relationships with teachers are one of the most common resources for children and may be a protective factor against risk for a range of negative outcomes. One of the biggest ways to improve student learning outcomes is to remove the barriers that prevent students from speaking out when they need help. Without assistance when it’s most required, issues can grow and lead to significant long-term problems.
Barriers that prevent vulnerable students from speaking out include:
- Fear of judgment or harassment from peers
- A lack of confidence that their calls for help will be acknowledged
- A desire not to draw extra attention to themselves
- Not having easy access to a teacher or staff member whom they know and trust
Fortunately, with the use of a digital check-in platform, students can provide valuable real-time updates in a low-risk, low-friction way and connect directly with a teacher or support member whom they feel comfortable talking to.
Use Insights from Wellbeing Tracking to Improve the Learning Environment
Many studies that demonstrate how student learning outcomes and wellbeing are often closely linked conclude that pupils with positive mental health are likely to be more focused and motivated and display greater resiliency in challenging situations.
“We are seeing emotional wellbeing become a very intentional input that needs to be embedded and addressed a whole school level.” —Mark Sparvell, Microsoft
By implementing weekly check-ins as part of a health and wellbeing strategy, students can provide valuable real-time feedback from any mobile phone, at any time they choose. Within the app, students are asked how they’re feeling, in addition to four engagement questions, over a sixty-second check-in; it’s specifically designed to be simple and fast. In cases where students need help, through the app, they can connect directly with a trusted teacher or staff member to take the next step.
For school leaders, this weekly pulse can be an invaluable component of a proactive health and wellbeing strategy that allows schools to closely monitor the student environment, identify those most in need, intervene early, and gain valuable insights into the school culture.
Ultimately, digital wellbeing tracking is designed to create a more inclusive and engaging school environment, bring the wellbeing conversation to the center stage, foster a culture of self-reflection among students, and help every student maximize their potential, benefitting not only the school but also families and the local community.
Would You Like to Discover More?
Progressive school leaders are continually taking steps to develop wellbeing and engagement strategies, providing every individual student with the conditions and programs that they need to learn, grow, and succeed.
At Educator Impact, we have created the Pulse platform that gives you simple tools for gathering real-time insights about student mental health and methods to connect vulnerable students with the help and support that they need.
If you would like to find out if digital wellbeing tracking is a good fit for your school, you can view a demo of the EI Pulse platform, or you’re welcome to contact a member of our team for more information. . .
Educator Impact is dedicated to helping students find easier ways to ask for help, giving teachers real-time insights on those students, and helping school leaders identify trends in school well-being and culture trends.