During the Covid-19 pandemic one of the main concerns surrounding online learning is the health and wellbeing of students and if online learning will have a detrimental effect on students. There is also the concern that if student health and wellbeing is affected, it can affect their engagement with learning and have an impact on their learning experiences. It is the responsibility of all schools and its practitioners to support students’ wellbeing, whether it be physical, emotional, social and in the case that is being explored here, mental in what is coined “Responsibility for All” (Mental Health Strategy, 2017). Whilst understanding of student wellbeing has developed substantially in recent years, including students own understanding of what it means to be healthy in all aspects, there still appears to be a lack of understanding of the importance of what it means to be mentally and socially healthy (Dogra et al, 2012). Research into student wellbeing and ability to engage/focus on learning shows that with a significant reduction in face-to-face interactions, students’ anxiety and stress levels can increase (O’Reilly, Dogra, Whiteman et al, 2018) which could potentially lead to an increase in disruptive behaviour once students return to the classroom and students being unable to concentrate and effectively manage emotions to engage with learning (Bocholz and Sheffler, 2009).
The aims of this professional enquiry were to identify if student wellbeing has been affected during online learning and if they believe that their mental wellbeing has affected their engagement with learning. This would allow a better insight into how students feel about online learning and whether they think there could be improvements made to online learning to help them.