As a probationer teacher in North Lanarkshire Council, it is important to realise the social and economic context which some children within my community live in. According to data from the council, only two wards from the 21 total have higher levels of child poverty than the Scottish average of 21.7%. There have been many policies and activities enacted to help tackle this context, such as the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the National Third Sector GIRFEC Project. As outlined in Building the Curriculum 4, children are “entitled to opportunities for developing skills for learning, life and work” (Scottish Government, 2009, p2). However, this is impacted by the ability of children to be able to effectively engage with learning experiences.
The importance of Health and Wellbeing within the Curriculum for Excellence is clear, being one of the three areas that fall under the “responsibility of all” teachers and staff. As outlined above, it is evident that many children are not coming to school in the right frame of mind to learn. A recent trend in schools has been the rise in teaching of relaxation. A number of studies have looked in to this. Most recently, work by Hayes et al (2019) explored the effect relaxation strategies (and other techniques) had on mental health and wellbeing in schools. Providing all learners with the background understanding and tools to be able to control their on emotions would enable them to better engage with learning.
The aim of this enquiry was to explore how different relaxation strategies can influence the focus of learners in the classroom environment. The class involved is home to a wide range of abilities, behaviours and backgrounds. In this instance, all children will not approach learning in the same way. It is thought that the implementation of a number of relaxation strategies will have a visible impact on learners’ focus, engagement and learning.