Mercy Peek & Ponder
Faculty/Staff Edition Sunday, November 15 , 2015
Weekly Reflection: Students' happiness at school goes a long way in learning
Why is a good learning environment so important? When students feel safe, enjoy being where they are and are happy, they tend to behave and they tend to learn.
The overall climate of a school begins in the classroom. Research has shown that classrooms could be new, old, high tech, low tech, large, small, near the principal’s office or far away. It didn’t matter. What mattered was (and is) the teacher. The teacher’s attitude toward students accounted for most of the variance in students’ perceptions of safety, enjoyment and happiness.
Happiness might be the most overlooked variable of all. To be happy at school, research has shown that students had to feel as if they were a valued member of the class. Students have to believe that they can be successful.
Elementary- age students are sometimes made to feel happy when they please their teacher, but helping them understand that happiness is not “approval” is a difficult construct to comprehend. Recognizing young children for “random acts of kindness” or “subtle successes” is different from giving them rewards for doing what is expected.
Students in the middle school tend to respond to the same unexpected, unsolicited stimuli. That is, randomly and intermittently letting students know they are valued and respected. Research also found that middle school students like a good joke now and then. They like to laugh, and laughing sometimes elicits positive outcomes.
Many would say the principles mentioned above are simply common sense and can be applied to just about any environmental situation. I would agree.
So, the next time you observe students at any grade at OLM smiling, having fun or even laughing, don’t automatically think they are not learning. They might be on the verge of discovery. They might be thinking concretely that “happiness is a warm puppy” (Peanuts, 1962) or more abstractly that it is finding one’s true meaning of life — learning for the sake of helping others, or more directly living their faith.
We didn't win the bidding on the Party - but we did bid! The OLM Auction shirts were a huge hit! Parent after Parent after Parent commented on the visual sense of unity.