Creating an Inclusive and Health Promoting Learning Environment in Primary School

Abstract

Many students struggle with mental health issues and low motivation in today’s school, and the problems often start as early as primary school. Surveys show that children at the age of ten to twelve struggle with loneliness, sadness, low self-esteem, bullying, stress and physical problems. One of five dread going to school. The current study presents an approach that can be applied to facilitate for making the children themselves engaged in creating a safe, health promoting and inclusive learning environment for everyone in primary school. This approach includes five steps, which are identifying 1) what is important, 2) success factors, 3) obstacles, 4) what needs focus and 5) what specifically can be done to change the situation. The students reflect on these questions individually in writing and through discussions in class. In this way, the children themselves find solutions to obstacles under guidance from an adult. Results on evaluations from four fifth grade groups show that of 58 students, 38 felt the method helped them find out what is important, 31 became motivated, 45 managed to follow their own plans, 31 became better at finding solutions, 44 enjoyed more being together in school and 36 liked using the method. We conclude that children in primary school may be engaged in influencing their learning environment and their own situation in a positive direction when teachers facilitate for this.



Author Information
May Olaug Horverak, Birkenes Learning Centre, Norway
Gerd Martina Langeland, Lillesand Upper Secondary School, Norway

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2022
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the ECE2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by amp21