Image

Happiness in Our Learning at School

We feel that our new focus, “How can we find happiness in our learning at school?”  is responsive to our changing world and recognized the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty we are living with.  Schools are and always will be a place of happiness for most children.  We know that students learn best when they feel safe, secure, calm and engaged.

Rather than use the four questions from The Spirals of Inquiry, we wanted to ask students to identify where they find happiness in their learning.  A staff committee was formed, and all classes participated by responding to the question, “Where do you find happiness in your learning?” Depending on developmental level, students responded by drawing, writing, or a combination of both.  In some cases, teachers scribed what the students said.  The committee looked at the student responses and divided them into the following categories.  

Category

Number of Students

Percent of Total

  1.  Social/Friends

38

32.5%

  1.  ADST/Hands on

16

14%

  1.  PHE

15

13%

  1.  Play

13

11%

  1.  Art

9

8%

  1. Computers

8

7%

  1.  Learning New Information

8

7%

  1.  Reading

6

5%

  1.  Being Calm

2

1.5%

  1. Teacher

2

1.5%

 

n=117

100.5% (rounding)

 

What does this mean?

While this is an initial sampling of students’ responses, there are obvious preferences that have surfaced.  In summary, it appears that:

  1.  students feel happiest at school when they are working together with friends and peers on projects
  2.  students enjoy hands-on learning
  3.  students enjoy physical education
  4. creative play is important for our student’s happiness
  5.  students also love art

It comes as no surprise, that friends and socializing, are most important to our students, (32.5%) especially during this time of forced isolation because of the pandemic.  Most likely, one of the most important outcomes of the return to school in September was the joy that students derived from being with classmates.  Interestingly enough, students also mentioned that they value working together with their classmates on projects.  Even trips to the library or arts and crafts were considered more enjoyable when done with classmates. 

Another important aspect of learning that contributes to happiness for our students is the engagement in hands-on projects. (14%)  From woodworking, to science experiments, to building, students mentioned collaboration and working with others as being important to their happiness in learning. 

Physical education, whether in the gym or outside, is important for many of our students (13%).  Older students mentioned that they loved the aspect of team sports, whereas younger students simply enjoyed learning different sports in the gym.

There is no doubt that creative play contributes to students’ learning and development.  That our students (11%) mentioned play as an aspect of life at school that brings them happiness, comes as no surprise.  Whether outside or indoors, students value the free time that they have to explore, create, and interact with others. 

Arts and crafts was also mentioned as a contributor to student’s happiness at school. (8%) Again, students mentioned that working together with classmates on arts and crafts projects together with classmates, the social aspect of learning, was desirable. Students also mentioned that drawing and painting helped them make connections and brought happiness because students were free to make their own choices and that there was no right answer.

 At the end of this rather unique, challenging year of learning, one in which we supported and cared for each other through situations that we have never experienced before, it is the words of a young student that resonate clearly as to what brings happiness to students. 

“I find happiness in my freinds heart.”

This is information has been shared with staff and we will use this feedback to inform our teaching.

 

Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2021