Creating a Culture of Wellbeing in a Digital Classroom

There is a river flowing now very fast... we must push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above the water. At this time in History we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves, for the moment we do that, our growth comes to a halt.
Hopi Elder, 1999, Gathering in Arizona

Uncertainty is part of human existence, as is evident above. There was a time when a school was a chalk-and-talk environment, followed by a familiar child-centric atmosphere, and today's school evolved into a screen on a laptop, with teachers and students in their own homes. Teachers have never experienced being on the other end of the screen classroom, and in order to understand what students feel like, we can develop empathy by trying to express what a student may be feeling in that space.

Well-being is hard to define, it encompasses some aspects of welfare, but goes beyond, and may be understood as the balance point between an individual's resource pool and the challenges faced. The five domains of well-being are social, emotional, cognitive, spiritual and physical. Schools today are in a virtual environment; hence it would serve us well to consider how we may continue to focus on educating the heart even in this present space, in order to help create caring, just, inclusive and healthy communities that support students in reaching their fullest potential.

We need our future generations not only to be those brilliant, creative people who solve our problems but they have to do so with compassion and think about how their new creations will impact society. The SEE Learning framework, developed at Emory university, with the blessings of His Holiness Dalai Lama is rooted in compassion, and provides a K-12 curriculum, which examines awareness, compassion and engagement in the personal, social and systems domain. An example of a learning engagement from this curriculum would be to enable an individual to understand how triggers can cause emotions, and exhibit resilience remaining in the zone of well-being by using strategies such as grounding and resourcing.

While functioning in this challenging environment we may remember:
  • Connections may not develop if grown in isolation.
  • Human beings build connections by sharing stories of their hopes and fears. A relationshipbuilds on meaning rather than appearance.
  • Focus on character vs. characteristics.
  • Finally, play: lighten the mood, deepen the conversation.

Image source-freepik

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Ms. Mona Seervai
Head of School, Mount Litera School International

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