It is true that good coaching, hard work and determination are considered prime factors for good student performance. But in a world where the combined pressure of exams, homework, getting good grades and co-curricular activities are weighing the students down, there is more to student performance than you think.
Read more to find out how a school environment that echoes positivity and happiness can lead to better school performance.
A school is not just an institution where children come to receive education; it is a place where they learn, grow, make friends and memories to cherish for a lifetime. It is a place where they develop a personality, character, values and beliefs that stay with them throughout their lives.
Needless to say that the experiences gained in school play a major role in determining a person’s success and well-being later in life.
Hence, it is essential for a learning environment to be safe, healthy, happy and encouraging. According to UNESCO, “Unsafe learning environments reduce the quality of education for all learners. Affected learners may avoid or participate less in class or drop out of school altogether. They are at increased risk of anxiety, psychological stress and depression.”
In a time when the pressure of getting good grades, exams, co-curricular activities, along with excessive screen time can cause high levels of anxiety and stress among the children; a school that encourages positivity and happiness in its environment can make a major difference in the performance of the students.
What does the research say?
Research has shown that when schools prioritise the mental health of students and put effort into creating a happy environment at school, students are motivated to come to school. This not only results in a better academic performance but also translates into sincere relationships in the school and society.
A happy school environment facilitates an enriching learning experience and blossoms the talents of the students. It motivates activities, boosts creativity and strengthens social relationships. On the other hand, lack of happiness in the school environment may cause disinterest or a hidden escape feeling. This means that students neither escape from the class nor are they absent from school but they attend the classes with an indifferent attitude which results in no progress in the performance.
Given the strong link between happiness and quality and education, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok) published a report called Happy Schools: A Framework for learner well-being in the Asia Pacific. Evidence in the report shows prioritising student well-being and happiness in schools can lead to higher academic achievements.
However, this has often been undervalued with more focus on test scores as the prime indicator of the quality of education.
Another report called Because I’m Happy published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education shows that happiness really matters when it comes to learning. In an intriguing study by Christina Hinton conducted among students from elementary to high school, Hilton says that “Students often reported that happiness, or positive feelings like enjoyment or fun, promotes learning.” Students cited various reasons for the positive feelings which include a safe and secure environment at school and good relationships with teachers and peers. However, they found that “a network of supportive relationships is at the heart of happiness.”
What do our teachers say?
The quality of the students are a direct reflection of the quality of the teachers and a school’s environment. When asked about how much happiness is related to learning, our Primary Principal, Ms Josephine, says it’s “absolutely 100% of happiness!” Her tip to entering the classroom is to begin the lesson with a joke or a riddle.
She also shares a few words of wisdom with her colleagues.
“I always tell my teachers that if your students are not happy, they are not learning. So the first thing that you do when you go into the classroom is to make your students excited, happy and eager for you to come into the classroom.”
Building a caring community
At Maple Leaf Kingsley International School, we believe that mindful and positive interactions between teachers and peers, authentic connections, building strong trust and genuine care are the key to the wellbeing and success of the students. Supportive relationships between teachers and peers ensure that students feel comfortable to confide and share their problems; an initiative for building better mental health.
A caring community, in turn, leads to a bully-free environment where students are nurtured into confident and independent youths who see the importance of living purposefully and fearlessly in life. Kingsley creates an enriching learning atmosphere where people are confident, engaged, innovative and respectful towards each other.
Our teachers employ fun and creative methods of teaching to create engaging learning experiences that empower students and create excitement to come back to school every day. Students are encouraged to ask questions, research their interests, train their bodies and mind, and be who they are.
Located on expansive grounds with a lush landscape, not only does Kingsley encourage the students to connect with nature but also learn to appreciate the environment and care for it. By combining a visionary curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities and an expansive environment to learn in, Kingsley is able to create an environment conducive to learning for students, teachers and parents to flourish.
It is not about smart children, it is about happy children who have the confidence to learn and pursue things dear to their heart. – Alexandra Eidens
At Maple Leaf Kingsley International School, the happiness and well being of our students is at the heart of everything we do. Kingsley is more than just a school – it is a place where children can feel free to learn, grow and express themselves without the fear of failure. We ensure that Kingsley is a home away from home for our children – a place where they love to come back every day.