Teach.Learn.Share: Episode one
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between well-being, wellness, and mental health? Or how students’ learning and well-being are linked? Have you considered what the connections might be among assessment, student performance, and heightened emotions?
Listen in to the first episode of the Teach.Learn.Share miniseries on assessment and well-being – now available on the podcast platform of your choice!
To launch the series, Kira Smith, Student Engagement Officer at McGill’s Office of Science Education, helps us find a working definition for well-being that lays the foundation for the miniseries. Drawing on the results of her graduate studies research, Kira shares recommendations for how instructors can promote sound mental health through their strategies for assessment of student learning.
Research shows that student well-being promotes learning (Keyes et al. 2012; El Ansari & Stock, 2010). A means to think about students’ well-being, then, is to focus on learning. In other words, if students feel that they are learning successfully, their well-being is supported.
Assessment for learning involves providing students with low-stakes and timely, incremental opportunities to practice what they are learning. These kinds of formative feedback strategies both foster learning and contribute to healthier learning environments. You can learn more on how to engage your students in feedback dialogue in this Teaching and Learning Knowledge Base resource.
Here are some ways to help support students’ well-being, many of which Kira addresses in our conversation:
- Prioritize and acknowledge well-being: let your students know that you have their well-being—as well as your own—in mind
- Provide opportunities for formative feedback: give early and ongoing feedback
- Set clear expectations verbally and in writing
- Define criteria for how students’ learning will be assessed and share these criteria with students before they submit their work
- Engage students in dialogue about assessment
- Provide a diversity of assessment tasks (presentations, reports, posters, projects, exams)
After listening to the podcast, we hope you will be inspired to explore these resources that Kira has compiled to help guide us in learning more:
On students’ mental health
- National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students (MHCC).
- Starter Kit: For the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students (MHCC).
On academic performance and well-being
- Barbayannis, G., Bandari, M., Zheng, X., Baquerizo, H., Pecor, K. W., Ming, X. (2022). Academic stress and mental well-being in college students: Correlations, affected groups, and COVID-19. Frontiers in Psychology, 13.
On student self-esteem
- d’Entremont, A. (2018). Being a C-student is the new normal: A literature review on grades, self-worth, and mental wellbeing. Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA).
Practical resources for instructors
- Simon Fraser University, Well-being in university environments
- University of British Columbia, Teaching practices that support wellbeing: A tool for educators
Stay tuned for episode two of the Teach.Learn.Share miniseries on assessment and well-being, where Char Lewis-Sutherland, a Senior Advisor in McGill’s Equity Team, will challenge us to reflect, dialogue, and act creatively on assessment. Char offers insights on inclusive assessment practices that promote healthier learning environments by effectively supporting all students. They also offer tips on how to keep the focus on learning and not on measuring shortcomings in or out of the classroom.
- Subscribe to Teach.Learn.Share on your favourite podcast player.
- Find more posts about Teach.Learn.Share.
- Making assessment of student learning a priority and promoting healthier learning environments are also integral to McGill’s new Policy on Assessment of Student Learning, which takes effect in Fall 2024.
El Ansari, W., & Stock, C. (2010). Is the health and wellbeing of university students associated with their academic performance? Cross sectional findings from the United Kingdom. International journal of environmental research and public health, 7(2), 509–527.
Keyes, C. L. M., Eisenberg, D., Perry, G. S., Dube, S. R., Kroenke, K., & Dhingra, S. S. (2012). The relationship of level of positive mental health with current mental disorders in predicting suicidal behavior and academic impairment in college students. Journal of American College Health, 60(2), 126–133.