Happy teacher, happy class

A local study has found children’s success in schools is tied to their teachers’ wellbeing

The ability of public schools to teach students in an innovative and relevant way starts with an education system that looks after the wellbeing of its teachers, according to a study from UBC's Okanagan campus.

It also starts with a greater emphasis on examining and replicating what is working as opposed to a more traditional approach of detecting and weeding out inefficiencies, says the study's author Assist. Prof. Sabre Cherkowski.

“Education is key to the continued success of our society and there is often a focus on how we can best tailor and improve student learning,” says Cherkowski. “What this study confirms is that the more traditional approach of focusing on what isn’t working and fixing it won’t necessarily give us the results we want for our children.

“Expanding on the current success of our education system and ensuring teachers are empowered to pursue innovation is what will continue to allow our schools to respond to the individual needs of students.”

In her study, Cherkowksi interviewed school administrators in communities in British Columbia’s interior region.

The administrators identified a number of factors that can help ensure schools and the students flourish. Factors identified included encouraging teachers to take innovative risks, breaking down silos that may keep educators isolated from their colleagues, and ensuring that humour is present in the workplace.

“This study highlights that it will be important for policy makers to consider the connectedness and wellbeing of principals and teachers when considering how to achieve desired outcomes in the education system,” said Cherkowski.

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