“If we want highly emotional developed pupils we need to have highly emotional developed adults around them “ ( Kirsti Lonka, Head of Psychology of Education Research Group, Helsinki University)
The wellbeing movement to support 21st-century learning starts with the adults (parents, teachers, educators etc). Adults should have context, frames in which they can practice & keep awareness and presence as a daily routine. It is part of the well-being and wellness platter as well as an organizational culture shift.
The wellbeing starts within oneself
As we cultivate these human capacities ( awareness, presence, kindness & care) we make learning possible (21st-century learning- creative learning, knowledge-creating, not consuming curriculum). Students learn by mirroring (neurons) the behavior of adults. If we enter the class or in our child room without cleaning our “mind” first we enter with all the worries, angriness, disappointments etc we project instead of allowing the learning process to happen).
The space that invites
One hidden factor of success behind the Finnish educational success, as I observed, was the teachers’ room. Is it enough to make a beautiful teachers’ room in a school and it will be “Like Finland” of course not. Yet create one place where the organizational culture shift becomes possible. Create spaces in which “ you can sense the future”.
Some practices to consider as you start your wellbeing movement
- Suspending own agenda & thoughts: allowing deep/centered listening to happen. This will make 21st century education possible where teachers& students co-create the learning. Make space for teachers & students to practice wellbeing, like a mindfulness and awareness practice as part of every day program.
- Allowing a state of mind “ of fresh new eyes”. I hear teachers saying I know what I have to teach, what will happen in the class brings little surprise for me, this is our signal we are not practicing nor filling up our creative capacity. It is part of a wellbeing strategy to encourage organisational culture in school to find curiosity in one’s own subject every day.
- Practice “ I don’t know”. Being a teacher & teaching this seems hard but it is key to both wellbeing and innovation. Not knowing and practicing not knowing opens up the teacher, pedagog and learner to generative learning, co-creating knowledge, stepping out of the control mindset and recognizing future emerging mindset. Philosophy teacher from Finnish high school said “ during covid-19 distance learning, beside my normal classes which were pretty predictable, a self directed learning group formed and we met weekly, I felt as a teacher I was surprised and challenged at every meeting by the students, now I want to make space for that in all my lessons for next year”.
- Cultivate tolerating difficult situations & learning from mistakes. With a wellbeing movement or practice for your school organisation culture, you learn to stay with tensions & challenges, to act as an active researcher and see inside what personal opportunities for learning from hard moments arise. Have an organisational culture that encourages learning from mistakes,staying with the difficult situations we also mirror to young learners the same habits.
- Cultivate the love for learning. Learning “as an infinite minset game”. Finnish teacher, says ” our job as teachers is to introduce the love for that subject, for learning to the student, that stops when we grade and assess”, we need to investigate ways in which we do not ignore this tension. Find a passion (some teachers found art or dance or robotics) and include that in your teaching indifferent of what subject or level you teach.
- Shared space of agency, where autponomy becomes possible. Learning to manifest our free will is part of wellbeing. Yet we all need structures that would make visible our complex systems of autonomous “movements”, decisions. It is not either but both, situation, we create contexts in which step by step adults & then students learn to co-regulate.
I invite you to the interview with Shashi Nair and the Wellbeing Lab model from Bangalore, India, have a piece of paper or a notebook with you and answer the questions from the interview from your life experience as well, allowing bridges of knowing between Shashi’s story and yours.
- The Wellbeing movement https://www.wellbeingmovement.in/
- New learning ways around wellbeing & emotional developed students& teacher relation https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11251-011-9203-4
- The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children, book by Shefali Tsabary
- Integrative Psychotherapy in Theory and Practice: A Relational, Systemic and Ecological Approach, book by Judy Ryde and Peter Hawkins ( chapters dedicated to parents & teachers) wellbeing & wellness plate as well as practices
- Wellness platter, an example https://adaptivetalent.co/blog/healthy-mind-platter/