SUPPORTING NEW STUDENTS: ISC WELLBEING IN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS REPORT 5/5
This blog is the final post in a series of five discussing ISC Research’s findings from their Wellbeing in International Schools report. This blog focuses on the key report finding that there is a need for effective strategies to support new students, which directly supports the need for my work on emotional wellbeing for relocation.
BACKGROUND TO THE WELLBEING IN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS REPORT
ISC Research’s report shares the preliminary findings of the first global research into wellbeing in international schools. The report is authored by Angie Wigford at International Educational Psychology Services Ltd. and Andrea Higgins at Cardiff University School of Psychology.
AIMS OF THE WELLBEING IN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS RESEARCH
There are two main aims in the Wellbeing in International Schools report:
to identify what promotes wellbeing
to identify the barriers to wellbeing.
KEY FINDING FROM THE WELLBEING IN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS REPORT
“48% of respondents felt that transition between schools had a negative impact on student wellbeing. However, only 55% of teachers felt the strategies their school used for supporting new students were very effective” (Wigford and Higgins, 2018: p.21).
In terms of supporting new students, most schools clearly communicate the essential logistics, such as uniform requirements or timetables. While clear logistics are essential for schools to run efficiently, they also need to support their new students on an emotional level. I have yet to encounter an international school which provides staff professional development on relocation. Without professional development, staff don’t necessarily gain a deep understanding of the emotional stresses of relocation for students and their families. This shared staff understanding of the difficulties involved for relocating students is vital to create and maintain effective strategies to support new students.
Furthermore, I’ve found that quite a number of international schools don’t have any school-wide strategies in place for supporting new students on a personal level, effective or otherwise. There are a number of simple but powerful strategies which can make a huge difference to the negative impact of relocation on students, both short- and long-term. These strategies work well within existing curriculae. Without effective strategies in place, international schools are missing an amazing opportunity to better support their students’ emotional wellbeing.
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO ORGANISATIONS WHO RELOCATE FAMILIES?
The definition of relocation is “the act of moving to a new place and establishing one’s home there.” Many organisations focus on the logistics of a relocation, such as shipping, visas, booking flights or finding a new home. Of course, the logistics are an essential part of the relocation process.
However, establishing one’s home in a new location is more than just logistics. Home is also an emotional concept: feeling happy, settled, safe, comfortable. Despite this, the emotional side of relocation is often neglected. This is a problem because relocations are emotionally stressful and many families just aren’t sure how to address the difficult and uncomfortable feelings which are an inherent part of an international move. Stress causes issues for families at home and negatively impacts work performance. According to this Forbes article, “Employees suffering from high stress levels have lower engagement, are less productive and have higher absenteeism levels.”
HOW I CAN HELP
Hello/goodbye transition audit for international schools to analyse the strategies schools use to support both new and leaving students. Do reach out if you’d like more information
Hello/goodbye transition programme for relocating families to reduce the emotional stress of a relocation. Get in touch for more details.
Send me a message to discover more about my resources for international schools to support new and leaving students with emotional wellbeing for relocation. You can download and use a free example here.
Research-backed staff professional development on strategies to support new students. For an example of what to expect, take a look at thE SHORT VIDEO BELOW. Contact me if you’d like to find out how I can help your school.