What comes first? Wellbeing or learning? New research suggests the latter (Best Evidence in Brief)

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and this time the newsletter is packed with relevant studies such as:

But I have picked this one as it concerns a debate that never seems to end: does feelings of wellbeing lead to learning or vice versa. For one thing: in this longitudinal study feelings of wellbeing did not result in better learning, but having learned stuff did result in feeling better.

The importance of promoting well-being in schools has been increasingly emphasized.A recent longitudinal study published in School Psychology investigated the relationship between academic achievement, self-esteem, and subjective well-being across time among elementary school students in China.
Participating students, who were from Grades 3, 4, and 5, were randomly selected from classes in two elementary schools in a city in Southern China. The study assessed students’ academic achievement, self-esteem, and subjective well-being three times, at intervals of six months. A cohort of 807 students participated in the first assessment, 790 in the second and 792 in the third. The findings showed that academic achievement positively predicted later subjective well-being in school, particularly for elementary school children. However, neither well-being nor self-esteem predicted later academic achievement. The authors suggested that this might be because the measures of academic achievement were not sensitive enough, or it might relate to Chinese cultural features.

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