The Succeeder Of The Month
Are you passionate about creating a learning environment that embraces diversity and encourages social participation? If the answer is yes, then you'll want to keep reading about the 14 weeks program, which touched many individual students and left a long-lasting positive impact on the entire school community.
Children must be taught how to think, not what to think. Margaret Mead
Creating a Positive Learning Environment: Integrating Sociocultural Perspectives and Positive Pedagogy for All Students
While aiming to create inclusive schools that preserve pupils' diversity and promote the social participation of all pupils, it is essential to actively improve learning environments. This includes creating more collaborative learning environments, utilizing student-centered pedagogics, and recognizing every child's individual strengths (Vetoniemi & Kärnä, 2019). Especially the sociocultural approach in education, which emphasizes the role of interaction in children's learning, has been particularly effective for students with learning difficulties and disabilities (Duque, E., Gairal, R., Molina, S., & Roca, E. 2020). This means utilizing interactive learning environments, such as interactive groups and dialogic literary gatherings, which have been shown to improve the learning experiences of students with special needs. (Duque, E., Gairal, R., Molina, S., & Roca, E. 2020).
One effective and attention-grabbing approach that is very much on the rise, which complements and enhances the principles of sociocultural perspective, is positive pedagogy. Positive pedagogy is an approach that focuses on cultivating positive experiences in the classroom, including promoting kindness, empathy, and emotional regulation. Research has shown that these experiences can significantly impact students' brains and behavior. For example, studies have found that acts of kindness can activate areas of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust (Zaki & Mitchell, 2013). Practicing kindness has also been shown to reduce stress, improve relationships, and increase overall happiness (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005; Fredrickson, 2013).
The program provided a wide range of activities that facilitated cooperation among students of different ages.
Cultivating Virtues and Strengthening Community: The Success of the 'Succeeder of the Month' Program
Built upon these principles, the "Succeeder of the Month" program originated in my own class in December 2022 and quickly gained popularity among my students. Recognizing the positive impact that focusing on character development and virtues like persistence and kindness had on my class, I expanded the program to the entire school community. With the help of other teachers and staff members, we developed further a program that encouraged positive behavior and fostered a sense of community among students.
The program included activities such as reading and discussing texts and stories related to the predetermined virtue of the week, engaging in group thinking and conversations related to the topic, and self-evaluation to identify ways in which students can incorporate the virtue into their own lives and behaviors. In addition, the activities were also supported by scientific research results that have explored the benefits of interactive learning environments for students with learning difficulties and disabilities, leading to the development of educational actions that have improved the learning experiences of students with special needs (Duque, Gairal, Molina, & Roca, 2020). In conclusion, I can say that the program has been a huge success, with students enthusiastically participating in the activities and eagerly nominating their peers for recognition. In addition, the laminated diploma with their name has become a symbol of pride and accomplishment for many students, further reinforcing the program's positive effects. By focusing on positive character development and fostering a sense of community, the "Succeeder of the Month" program has had a lasting impact on the school culture and the well-being of students.
The themes were covered in other lessons as well, and the tasks were comprehensive and detailed.
REFERENCES: Vuorinen, K., Erikivi, A., & Uusitalo-Malmivaara, L. (2019). A character strength intervention in 11 inclusive Finnish classrooms to promote social participation of students with special educational needs. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 19(1), 45-57. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12423
Duque, E., Gairal, R., Molina, S., & Roca, E. (2020). How the Psychology of Education Contributes to Research With a Social Impact on the Education of Students With Special Needs: The Case of Successful Educational Actions. Frontiers in Psychology, p. 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00439
Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Positive Emotions Broaden and Build. In P. Devine, & A. Plant (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (pp. 1-53). Vol. 47, Burlington: Academic Press.
Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M, & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING FOUNDATION. Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 111–131. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4v03h9gv