The Importance of “A Sense of Belonging”
Over the coming weeks, I am going to write a series of blog posts regarding the importance of a sense of belonging and connection. I will discuss how it is important to us as educators and strategies that we can use to implement it effectively in Schools.
All opinions that I give are within my own 22 years experience as an Educator, my work as the Chair of a Community Mental Health Action Team and understandings that I have developed through professional development including Youth Mental Health First Aid & Gatekeeper Suicide Training. I am not a trained psychologist or counsellor, so please remember that my thoughts are based on my own lived experiences.
A sense of belonging is critical to everyone! To a student, a staff member, an adult, a child, an elderly person, a farmer, an addict, the list goes on!
We are social beings and long for connection and belonging. Of course everyone is different and the need for social activity is heavily dependent on personalities. However, belonging can be nurtured in ways such as social gathers, workplaces, a close mate, a sporting group, the armed forces, a book club, a regular phone conversation, through online gaming or social media connections. Within each example, individuals fill their need for belonging but in many different ways that suit them.
We can be doing all of the rights things such as exercising, looking after ourselves, but without real connections in some form, we often struggle!
Here are some examples:
A Sense of Belonging is a key element of looking after our mental health and wellbeing. In my next blog post I will discuss:
The Importance and Relevance of Belonging and Connection for us as Educators AND …
Strategies that we can put into place to help develop this with our students and make our behavioural initiatives more effective.
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Download a free resource to help develop connections with students. Click here for 5 simple strategies to start improving staff-student connection.