How Important Is Student Happiness to Academic Success?
It is the wish of every parent that their child grow up happy and loving life, but is the significance of student happiness ever considered in the classroom? A child’s feeling of happiness has ramifications extending far beyond the walls of a house, as social and academic successes are very closely intertwined with their emotional state of being.
In the fast-paced and technology-driven world we live in, oftentimes emotions are not openly shared or discussed. It’s easy to hide behind busy schedules and electronic devices and never even take the time to ask how your children are feeling. Did you feel happy today? Did anything upset you? What would make tomorrow a better day for you?
Those are all questions which should be asked on a regular basis, and the happiness of your children and students should be constantly monitored. Here’s why.
School Is Stressful
Obviously, all students are extremely unique in their emotional responses to school and homework. Some kids thrive and enjoy school, and other kids truly struggle with the stresses that come along with the academic and social pressures. Even more so these days with a broadening sense of standardization in teaching and testing, students are feeling the anxiety of academic achievement and the increasing workload that accompanies it. It is imperative that you keep the lines of communication open with both your children and their teachers.
Knowing not only their achievements on paper but, more importantly, how they are feeling and how they are acting are critical in monitoring their success at school. Burnout is a very real threat to a student’s academic achievement. Even if they are doing well with their grades, if they are not happy and are stressed, these emotions can very quickly snowball into feelings of being overwhelmed and wanting to give up.
Happiness Impacts Performance
Think about your own job. When you are having a bad day, how is your job performance? Does that speeding ticket you got on the way into work play into how you act in your morning meeting? If you got up early without much sleep, are you able to easily turn in that big project? The same goes for kids.
If they are stressed, if they haven’t slept well, if they are just overall not happy about life right now—all of that will play into how well they do on their test, how they interact with their friends, and how much they can really hear and learn that day. Student happiness directly correlates to student academic performance.
Emotions Drive Cognitive Functions
When students are happy, they are better able to problem solve, they are more open to critical thought and reasoning, their focus is more in tune, their ability to retain and recall information is heightened. A happy child is much more likely to be motivated at school, to collaborate and build friendships with classmates, and to troubleshoot and solve both social and academic dilemmas. Biologically, happiness and other emotions play a critical role in cognitive functionality and processing.
Clearly, the answer to the question of how important student happiness is to success is a resounding and obvious “extremely.” Even if your students are not happy in the classroom, they may find joy in activities outside of school. Work on any home influences which may be clouding their happiness; and if there are some deeper emotional issues threatening your child’s happiness, be sure to reach out for help. If their current school is causing them to be unhappy, it may be time for a change. Many students who felt stifled or unhappy in traditional classrooms find online schools to be an ideal alternative. Visit k12.com if you think an online learning environment might be better for your student.
Let us not lose sight of those things in life that truly matter, like the happiness of our children, and work in collaboration to help our students achieve their dreams both in school and in life.
Letise Dennis is a writer for Learning Liftoff. She has enjoyed writing since childhood, but has spent her most recent professional years writing website content and articles relating to her passion of fitness and nutrition. Having grown up in the south, she attended George Mason University and earned a degree in Communication, with a focus on interpersonal and business communication. After graduation, she began her career at a national nonprofit organization and has been living in Northern Virginia since. When not writing for Learning Liftoff, she spends her time with her husband and three kids enjoying sports and the outdoors.