Monthly Archives: October 2018

“What Causes Wellness?” ~ Sir Harry Burns

This an incredibly important question in todays society. “What causes wellness?”  Sir Harry Burns discusses this at the TEDx event in Glasgow.

This was actually an incredibly interesting video to watch and listen to, it has made me think about what we really think wellness is. For most of my life I have been told that keeping myself well is about maintaining a healthy diet, staying healthy, not smoking and not drinking excessively, and Burn explains that this is near enough the same view that is held by the majority of people in our society. Although our health is important to our wellness, Burn discusses that there are so many other factors that impact on our wellness.

Burn discusses that wellness and our well-being is not only about our health, but also about social factors, and how these impact on our way of thinking and our general outlook on life. Burn reflects on several theorists and draws together ideas that they have, discussing how wellness is linked to resilience, the ability to flourish, having a purpose in life, positive experiences in early childhood and positive connections. I feel that these are all really good points, and that there is slowly becoming an acceptance in society that being well is not only about being physically well, but also mentally well. We are slowly understanding that social factors also impact on our wellbeing.

Some of the research that Burn’s discussed was incredibly interesting. I was particularly interested by the fact that 70% of children who have suffered from child abuse, or grown up in a family with alcohol and drug users, will follow a similar path to their parents. While the other 30% of these children will come out of their childhood and be successful in later life. Burns discusses that the reason these children manage to get out of this cycle is because of their ability to develop resilience – these children are outgoing, positive, bright, have close relationships with others and get support from the community around them.  I feel that here the key point is that 30% of the children developed resilience, they were able to get out of the mindset of not being able to do something, and used the environment around them to try and be the best that they could be.

I feel as teachers it is incredibly important for us to understand the social factors that may be having an impact on the children in our classes. It is also important that we know how to help children that may have social factors that are negatively impacting them. We can help children talk about things that they may not normally be able to talk about,  build resilience, give them a purpose and help them develop relationships with others. For some of the children that come into school, this may be the only time that they get the opportunity to develop and work on these things, therefore, we need to seize the opportunity, and the best way to do this, is probably through health and well-being in the curriculum. Through health and well-being we can teach children how to manage feelings and emotions, we can encourage them to socialise with others, but, we can also encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle.

It is incredibly important for us as teachers to consider wellness and the wellbeing of children in our classroom, we need to remember that they are not just our students but they are also people. These little people that come into our classroom have so much potential and we need to help them in every way we can. We should be giving these children the essential skills they need for life through the core curriculum but we also need to teach them how to be the best they can be. Helping them understand that sometimes in life things will go wrong but it’s okay, and when things do go wrong that we can build ourselves back up from this.

After reflecting on this video and previous health and wellbeing lectures, I feel that health and wellbeing should be one of our core subjects in the curriculum. This subject can allow children to think of themselves in all aspects of their learning and their lives. It can encourage them to be the best they can be by building resilience and teaching them ways to manage emotions, and deal with factors that may impact on our lives. Wellness and wellbeing should be a core teaching point for teachers, and should be considered not just in the specific subject area but across the whole curriculum.