What is wellness? In education, what is it? What is wellness in society? Well-being is nothing more than the sum of happiness, self-confidence, personal fulfilment, self-esteem, kindness, health, a life with meaning, personal balance, etc. All this and much more is what can be considered welfare. Now that you have a slight idea of what is meant by well-being, it is time to ask yourself if you as a teacher teach well-being in the classroom. I can tell you that the answer is not easy, because much of what is taught is basically focused on success and results, but not on well-being. In today’s article I’ll try to give you some guidance on how you can promote wellness among your students.
Wellness in education. Towards a positive psychology.
Martin Seligman in his book “The Flowering Life” addresses the suitability and need to teach positive psychology in the classroom, that is, he defends the importance of you as a teacher being aware that well-being should and can be taught in the classroom.
Why promote well-being among your students?
According to Martin Seligman, teaching wellness in schools has the following effects:
- It improves the teaching-learning process.
- It increases the capacity for attention and concentration.
- Encourages creative thinking.
- Encourages holistic thinking.
1. Assertiveness. Being assertive, teaching assertiveness to your students has enormous value. And it has enormous value because you teach them to know how to say no, to gain self-confidence, to verbalize their fears and concerns, to become aware of their body language.
2. Problem solving. You can be happy when you are able to tackle and solve problems. Well-being can be achieved by learning to deal with the problems that arise day by day. There are many ways to teach how to solve problems or conflicts, but I personally believe that the one that works best in the classroom is group dynamics.
3. Decision-making. Decision-making is essential to promote the well-being of your students. You have to start from the premise that there are no good or bad decisions. You simply have to make your students see that decisions are simply decisions. And as such you have to know how to face them and approach them with the best predisposition. Because the students who make decisions will be those who tend towards greater self-concept and greater self-awareness of their actions. How to teach how to make decisions? Here are some orientations:
- Seek previous experiences.
- Ask other colleagues for advice.
- Make lists of advantages and disadvantages.
- Visualize possible decisions, both positive and negative.
4. Resilience. Resilience is one of the most important qualities for the well-being of your students. Resilient students will be those who, faced with difficulties, will know how to find strategies to recover their well-being.
5. Detection of personal strengths. The cultures of the world are defined in part by their personal strengths. Among the most common personal strengths among cultures are the following:
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]If you have carefully read the strengths I have selected in this article, you will realize that many of them have nothing to do with intellectual intelligence, but with emotional intelligence. These strengths are essential to promote well-being among your students because both you and your students make constant allusions to them, but curiously these allusions are often outside of what could be called the curriculum of your subject. Pay attention to these personal strengths, work them constantly in the classroom, allude to them and I assure you that it will be an excellent way to promote well-being in the classroom.
6. Gratitude. Gratitude can and should be taught in the classroom. And it can be done starting with something tremendously basic that is knowing how to give thanks. In the article entitled 3 Ways to thank your students. Which one do you keep? I highlight the importance of gratitude.
7. Achievement. The word achievement can be defined in many ways, but one of the ones I like the most is the equation:
achievement = ability x effort
In many areas the word achievement is directly related to success. But in the classroom you can also teach another way of understanding achievement that is not just through success. In this sense, when talking about the word achievement in education, I prefer to relate it to self-discipline. Self-discipline in the words of Roy Baumeister is the queen of all virtues. And along with self-discipline we find what is called determination or, in other words, the combination of persistence and passion for the attainment of an objective. The person who knows the most about determination in the classroom is Professor Angela Lee. Here’s a TED talk by Angela Lee about what is meant by determination.
Happiness, wellness and positive psychology. To conclude.
It is clear that wellness makes your students happier. But positive psychology does not focus on seeking and achieving happiness, but on increasing the personal growth of people, of your students. And to grow in the personal you need to encourage dedication, interest, meaning and purpose. And along with these characteristics would also be self-esteem, optimism, resilience, vitality, self-determination and positive relationships. It is in these nine characteristics that true personal growth resides and, therefore, the goal of positive psychology. I want to think that many of these characteristics have a place in the educational system. I want to think that you, as a teacher, have the enormous challenge and, at the same time, the enormous opportunity to work them in the classroom in favor of your students.