How teaching wellbeing can support learning?

Some time ago Harry Fletcher-Wood posted again a very relevant thread of tweets. What was the subject? The importance of wellbeing, or better the influence of teaching of wellbeing on learning. The irony is that this will seem a no-brainer for a lot of people as many are convinced that feelings of wellbeing are needed for learning. But a lot of cognitive and other scientists will tell you that it’s much more complicated than that. E.g. wellbeing is in the list of poor proxies for learning by Robert Coe and check also this quote by Hattie & Yates (well, you would need to read the bigger chapter where this quote is taken from). I’ve heard many times on conferences that wellbeing can rather be the result of learning than the other way around so maybe it’s not needed to teach wellbeing.

But this new study says something else. Let’s Harry do the talking:

And what do I think? Well, I do think the importance of relation has been known for quite some while. The question of perseverance and quality can be thought is relevant. This study suggests it’s possible. One thing is for sure: very interesting.

Abstract of the doctoral thesis:

Can well-being be taught at a large scale, and should it be taught in schools? Does teaching well-being improve academic performance? In Study 1, 18 secondary schools (n=8,385 students) in Bhutan were randomly assigned to a treatment group (k=11) or a control group (k=7). The treatment schools received an intervention targeting ten non-academic well-being skills. Study 2 was a replication study at a larger scale in 70 secondary schools (m = 68,762 students) in Mexico. The schools were randomly assigned to a treatment group (j = 35) or a control group (j = 35). Study 3 was the last replication study at a larger scale in 694 secondary schools (q = 694,153 students) in Peru. The schools were randomly assigned to a treatment group (h = 347) or a control group (h = 347). In all three studies, students in the intervention schools reported significantly higher well-being and they performed significantly better on standardized national exams at the end of a 15-month intervention. In Study 1, the results for both well-being and academic performance remained significant 12 months after the intervention ended. For Studies 2 and 3, time will tell if our results endure 12 months after the end of the intervention. In all three studies, perseverance, engagement, and quality of relationships emerged as the strongest mechanisms underlying increases in well-being and enhanced academic performance. Our results suggest that, independent of social, economic, or cultural contexts, teaching well-being in schools on a large scale is both feasible and desirable.



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