Wellbeing in Teaching and Learning Community of Practice – Reflections from Term 1

During our December meeting, we reflected on the first term of this Community of Practice and the impact it had on us: by the end of each meeting, we all left feeling better than when we arrived and rejuvenated. 50-minutes together were enough to re-ignite our passion for what we do, our love for teaching and our students, our gratitude for our colleagues. As one participant said:

“I dare someone to join this CoP once and not make the time to come again. It’s so worth the time!”

Over homemade granola bars, many ideas and tips for teaching were exchanged. Below are some themes and highlights from what was discussed and shared:

“Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.”

How do our learning environments support these aspects well-being?

  • Valuing authenticity:
      • Tips for instructor authenticity: share with your students what you are doing to learn and be better in your role. Transparency and modelling of behavior help build a trusting environment.
      • Tips for student authenticity: get to know your students and create opportunities for them to express who they are and what they feel
          • Ask your students questions that help them shine: What’s your passion? What needs to be done? What are you good at?
          • Use “exit cards” at the end of class where on one side students mark an emoji with a depiction of how they feel and on the other side they can leave constructive comments
  • Promoting wellbeing breaks:
      • Move UBC: request Movement Breaks for your classroom (or play a UBC Movement Break video) and standby for updates from the partnership of the Move U Crew and the Faculty of Health and Social Development for promoting Wellbeing Breaks in the classroom
      • 10 minutes of opportunity: we discussed again the effectiveness and intentionality behind this proposal that was inspired during our launch meeting. In addition to the direct outcomes we experience every time it is implemented, an “odd” ending time, like 9:20 am instead of 9:30 am, can stick in peoples’ minds and get them thinking about this change of behavior for their health.
  • Intentionally connecting:
  • Contemplative practices during stressful times (in addition to awareness, movement and connecting):
      • Practice gratitude: what are you grateful for in teaching and in your students? It’s easy to integrate a gratitude activity into the classroom; try it and note its effects on student wellbeing.
      • Foster creativity: inspired by a faculty member’s example that sometimes they take in colouring sheets for the students to de-stress and connect, we decided that the topic for our February meeting will be around creativity! Please let us know if you will be joining in-person at SCI 331 or virtually through Zoom so we can have enough supplies.