Clinical psychologist and wellbeing expert, Dr Hazel Harrison, shares some of her knowledge and insights to help teachers and school leaders support student and teacher wellbeing at these difficult times. Dr Hazel Harrison Hazel worked in the NHS for 17 years, specialising in working with children and families. Driven by her belief that prevention is better than cure, Hazel set up www.thinkavellana.com in 2015 with a mission to bring psychology out of the clinic and into schools and workplaces. Hazel works with schools all over the UK helping them build their wellbeing strategy, support their staff and educate their pupils. In 2019 Hazel also started working with the BBC to find ways to share her knowledge of psychological theories, neuroscience and the science of wellbeing with larger audiences. Hazel’s growth mindset and wellbeing live lesson was streamed to thousands of schools across the UK. Recently, her wellbeing series for KS2 PSHE lessons “The Brain Lab” launched on BBC Teach and during the pandemic she has been the content creator for the wellbeing lessons on the BBC Bitesize Daily Shows. What do we mean by the term trauma?
As schools welcome back more students after a long period of lockdown, many will have found the experience of a global pandemic and being away from family and friends traumatic. But what do we mean by the term 'trauma' and will all students be affected in the same way?
What might the signs of trauma look like?
When students return to school we know there will have been a diverse range of experiences during lockdown. How can teachers spot the signs that some children and young people may be struggling and need a bit more support to help them settle back into school life?
How can teachers help students settle back into school?
Hazel believes most teachers will have the mechanisms within themselves to manage students' transition back into school well. Normalising children and young people's experiences, making sense of them by using stories and by accepting and allowing all emotions to be expressed can really help.
What is PERMA and how can it benefit wellbeing in schools?
PERMA is a model of wellbeing created by Prof. Martin Seligman. It stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment. In this video, Hazel shares how this useful model can help schools embed wellbeing to promote positive mental health in classrooms and across a school. Hazel and I explored PERMA during two webinars at the start of lockdown and you can find them here: Part 1 Dr Hazel Harrison Part 2 Adrian Bethune
How can teachers look after themselves?
Teachers' and school leaders' sense of stress and anxiety may be heightened as they welcome more students back into school. It's important the staff working in schools know how they can look after themselves and their colleagues so they can navigate their way through these challenging times.
Adrian is a primary school teacher and author of Wellbeing in the Primary Classroom – A Practical Guide to Teaching Happiness .