Students’ wellbeing has a significant impact on their learning outcomes. In a recent study of nearly 800 educators in over fifteen countries, teachers rated mental wellbeing as playing an important role in learning. According to Sarah Friedman in The Journal, “The survey found 79 percent of educators see positive emotions as very or extremely important for academic success and half of all educators are working in schools with explicit emotional-being policies.”
As research in general indicates, there’s no question that there’s a correlation between student wellbeing and academic performance.
Let’s discuss why emotional wellbeing plays an important role in student success and how you can easily implement student wellbeing tracking on your campus.
Poor Mental Health Impacts Academic Outcomes
Tina Hascher, a professor of educational science, notes that poor mental health affects motivational factors that drive students toward success. In other words, there is a proven correlation between mental health and motivation. This scholarship indicates a direct link between wellbeing and student learning outcomes.
Better Behavior and Attitudes Have Measurable Impact on Academic Achievement
If students have improved social skills, behaviors, and attitudes, they are also likely to improve their academic achievement. In 2011, a large-scale meta-analysis study of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs affecting 270,034 K-12 students was completed. Researchers discovered that when students improved their mental wellbeing and SEL skills, there was an 11% gain in academic achievement as well.
Schools Should Encourage Students to Pay Attention to Their Wellbeing
If a student is in a good mood, they will be able to not only interact more fully with peers (which increases learning) but also concentrate on the material at hand. Unfortunately, a huge number of students—around 70%—reported their mental health as being only “poor” or fair.”
The Pulse app from Educator Impact (EI) checks in with students about their emotional wellbeing once a week. What’s more, EI’s simple responses encourage students to examine their feelings, a healthy way to adopt core SEL goals, such as managing emotions. Students can answer the check-in with responses like “I’m feeling great,” “I’m feeling in the middle,” or “I’m feeling negative.”
If students are trained to check in with themselves, they can be active participants in improving their own mental health.
Schools Should Demonstrate That Adults Care about Their Welfare
Another vital component to improving students’ outcomes is making them feel that authority figures care about them. Let’s say that a student tells a teacher that they’ve been feeling down about life. If the teacher is not able to take action to help them, they may feel that sharing their mental health isn’t validated. According to McCrindle, “there is a strong correlation between teacher-student relationship and academic achievement.” Thus, if students don’t feel that their vulnerability in sharing their mental health struggles paid off, then their learning outcomes may suffer.
EI’s Pulse is designed to create connections between students’ mental health and on-campus support. If students respond to a check-in with the response, “I need help,” they’ll then be connected to trusted adults, who will check in with them about their wellbeing struggles. Not only can students choose the support figure with whom they want to connect, but they can also send messages directly to them.
Schools Should Let Students Know That Their Emotional Concerns Will Be Considered
Measuring schoolwide mental health and then taking clear and visible action reinforces to students that the school and staff care about their welfare. Administrators and counselors can use the student wellbeing tracking data collected through the app to check the “pulse” of the whole campus. If students’ mental wellbeing takes a turn for the worse, for instance, they can develop new programs that proactively connect with students.
Pulse can also be used to create large-scale mental wellbeing programs at your school. Poor mental health is often contagious; if students are feeling down, they may make their peers feel down too. Furthermore, world issues, like the isolation caused by the COVID-19 quarantine, could be making many students feel less than stellar.
Students need to be able to check in about their own mental health and be conscious about when they’re feeling motivated and mentally well—and when they’re not. Regular mental health check-ins make students feel better supported by the adults in their lives. Additionally, if students feel that adults care about their mental wellbeing, they’ll be more likely to report their struggles and feel supported in their academic goals. EI helps you make student wellbeing tracking a priority, gain better understanding, take early action, and initiate conversations.
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 wellbeing and culture trends.