Supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of our children and young people is a priority for all school leaders and teachers, according to the Ministry of Education.
With this in mind, the Ministry has just published a new resource written for teachers in all New Zealand schools and kura to help them support the behaviour, engagement, participation and learning of children and young people.
Teaching for Positive Behaviour includes sections on creating a supportive learning environment, encouraging reflective thought and action, facilitating shared learning, and providing sufficient opportunities to learn. Each section has a range of strategies for teachers to use along with an example of effective practice. The resource also includes activities designed to support staff professional learning and development and links to further information. There is also a self-assessment tool at the back.
While this resource focuses on proactive and purposeful approaches to teaching and learning, wider aspects of school life also impact on a students’ wellbeing and their ability to focus and learn.
The Wellbeing@School toolkit, wellbeingatschool.org.nz, it has been specifically designed to help schools identify how different aspects of school life contribute to a safe and caring environment and deter bullying. It can also suggest particular areas to focus on.
According to the Ministry, children and young people might appear okay when there is actually an underlying problem. Local and international research suggests that bullying is a serious problem in our schools. The best way to find out how students genuinely feel about the environment at their school is to ask them through an anonymous student survey, such as the Wellbeing@School survey. It is now free of charge through until December 2018.