During this lockdown, pupil wellbeing and engagement is a growing concern. As teachers in Scotland, we have a “responsibility for all” (Mental Health Strategy, 2017), and as such need to address the mental wellbeing of our pupils, as well as literacy and numeracy. As we have continued through the COVID-19 pandemic, external issues such as the lack of routine and home life have been documented as influencing the learning and engagement of learners (Kim, Dundas, Asbury, 2020). It is important then that teachers address these concerns as much as possible, as we would any factors that affect learning in the classroom. By giving pupils an outlet for their emotions each week, we are giving them the ability to reflect on what might be causing their issues and address them. As a reduction of in-person learning can lead to an increase in anxiety (O’Reilly, Dogra, Whiteman et al, 2018), it is important to do everything possible to address these issues quickly before they become unmanageable. This not only can positively change their mental wellbeing, but also help increase attainment through the expression of their emotional state (Mental Health Strategy, 2017).
This Practitioner Enquiry aimed to identify whether online learning was affecting the wellbeing of BGE pupils, and in turn, their engagement in their classes. Using the weekly wellness checks gave the pupils an accessible and easy to understand way to get their feelings about online learning across, so that they would be able to reflect on how their emotional wellbeing had affected their own learning.