Grades, parents’ expectations, peer pressure, friends’ support, bullying by seniors, demands of teachers, self-doubts, family issues and many more things occupy the brain of a student throughout school days. For many, schools is the best place to learn, play, and have a lot of fun, but for the rest it is a place haunted by the overburdened expectations of parents and teachers; expectations that they seldom meet due to lack of self-confidence and cooperation from parents and teachers. Not all children are born genius, everyone has different capabilities and limitations, and that’s why their merits and abilities cannot be judged using standard formulae or fathoms. Hence, it is the foremost responsibility of parents and teachers to treat each student differently like a doctor does with his patients. Moreover, only knowing a child is not enough, we should also understand it very closely; what are the things that please him/her and what are the things which annoy or apprehend the child. Every child has a very naive behaviour, he shows abrupt emotions, even impulsive, and it is the duty of parents and teachers to know what factors are detrimental and what are motivational.
In today’s fast and inconsistent world, usually, a father spends most of his time in earning bread and butter for his family and from dawn to dusk, the mother remains busy with household chores. Now, all the responsibilities come to school; the child’s second home. There, professionally trained teachers pay focused attention to students and instil confidence as well as interest in them for learning and discovering the things surround them. Until and unless a child has a congenital mental health problem, the majority of psychological problems in children occur due to the lack of proper attention from parents or unhealthy environment. These are the experiences of the child that reflect in his/her behaviour; if the environment around him/her is positive, the child will release positive vibes and vice versa.
Without proper guidance of teachers, children’s minds get trapped in sadness, and they feel anxious and stressed. In many cases, the power of depression in the child turns into self-harm or even suicide.
In the life of a student, the school plays an important role since most of the time they spend in there. Therefore, a school has a huge influence in affecting the mental health of students in many ways. Whether it is the stress or anxiety to perform well on every test and assignment or the student who came from a poor background gets bullied, resulting in ruining their image and victims. There are times when the bullied student who is forced to hide his/her situation is filled with fear and panics over the small stuff.
In school, many students experience the self-confidence issue as unconsciously several times the students are compared to a popular girl/boy, causing them an unfortunate ground for self-confidence disposal. Today, schools are no longer solely about reading, writing and arithmetic instead, they are the places which serve in supporting student’s growth and development.
Many programs are implemented in schools to help in building confidence and achieving the academic life of the school students successfully. Moreover, there are many ways in which a school can cultivate sound mental health in the student’s life, such as building positive school culture. Not only does it leave a huge impact on the attitudes of students and teachers, but on the entire learning experience for life. Therefore, a school plays a crucial role in creating a positive culture in the student’s life.
Apart from programs on bringing the positive attitude of the student, authorities should ensure that teachers make adequate efforts in resolving students’ queries and making them aware of the positive result of sound mental health.
Following the positive mental health, the curriculum provides everything that improves the confidence level of children and helps them to take various challenges in life with undaunted courage, self-respect, and a positive mindset.
In fact, all this support should not be limited to classroom and school campus. The chemistry between teachers and students should be harmonious, and a student should not be hesitant while taking counselling from the teacher. They also look into evidence in the form of facts and figures before reaching to any conclusion.
How can schools aid in developing and enhancing sound mental health in students?
Negative thinking is like a giant wall. The more a person gets closer to it, it keeps him away from accomplishing goals and hinders the path from moving forward in life, whether it be learning, growing, or obtaining happiness. Similarly, negative thinking can hold a student back from his or her true potential.
In reality, school life can be a stressful environment for students. Adverse conditions at schools can cause a high level of stress and anxiety, which affect their mental health and illness. It has been observed that the result of a high amount of the stress levels and mental health of all students cause them to take extreme steps.
There are several ways in which schools can aid in developing and enhancing sound mental health is students. Communication, regular interaction between teachers and students during the class and after the class can help in creating an equation with the students by the teacher. This allows teachers to know what is going in the mind of the child during school time, and even about his/her family life. Furthermore, help students visualising a positive outcome from every scenario before starting.
School authorities must ensure to eliminate all the negative verbiage from the student’s dialogue. For instance, when a student says “I can’t do it,” take a step back, bring the negative verbiage to child’s attention and ask questions such as, “Why can’t you do it?”, “What’s holding you back?” “How can I help?” “What do you need to do it?” It will encourage the student to replace their negative thoughts into positivity. Moreover, incorporating a reward system encourages positivity in the student’s mind.
Apart from that, personal and interpersonal skills should also be groomed well as a part of the school curriculum. Activities such as group discussions, role-plays, educational games, team projects and model building are mandatory to sharpen students’ communication, team management, and leadership skills. Such engaging activities which assure holistic learning for a student should be a regular part of the study and must not be restricted to special days and occasions.
Indian schools have primarily adopted an academic-centric model of education. In many schools, the learning process is confined to classrooms only, forgetting that this process is more about understanding and comprehending the facts and less about learning. Therefore, the best way to address this problem is to introduce a positive mental health development curriculum, giving children a chance to explore and learn more things beyond the textbooks. This process helps them in understanding team-spirit, inquisitiveness, creativity, trustworthiness, sympathy, co-ordination, assertiveness and much more.
About The Author:
Alka Kapur is Principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi
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