Are you really concerned about psycho-social wellbeing of your students?
Zuhail Babu P.
Director, Lifelab International
Aristotle rightly said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is not educational at all.” Despite applying diverse teaching methods in classroom and mindful approaches in dealing with behavioural issues, many teachers realize that their ability to be effective is interfered by other factors. In today’s world, children are increasingly vulnerable and victimized by many social turbulences that shape their identity as students. Researches have proven that many factors including familial context, relationship dynamism, psychological wellbeing, emotional efficacy, parenting styles, school climate, teacher connectedness, peer groups are functioning as the determinants of learning and performance in a child. Children’s unmet physical and emotional needs will continue to interfere with their ability to learn and adjust in school unless the external factors are calmed.
Mental health of
children is important
To make the learning process inspiring and meaningful, the emotions of students must be understood and nurtured first. We cannot teach the brain when mind is shaken and the heart is broken. Studies also say that children are spending an extensive time of their life in schools which plays a substantial role in determining the mental health of children and establishing lifelong behaviour pattern of them. So, the task of schools goes beyond the limits of mere teaching and learning process. It has to be done with proper integration of knowledge and human resources. Teachers play a critical role in the holistic development of students, but this job cannot be done by teachers alone.Instead, dealing with the help of a mental health professional will make awesome results. School Social Work as an enabling profession has research proven-best practices framed from 100 years reflections for helping the schools in this context.
What is School Social Work?
School social work is a specialized area of practice within the broad field of the social work profession. School social workers are an integral link between school, home, and community in helping students achieve academic success. They work directly with school as well as students and families, providing leadership in forming school discipline policies, mental health intervention, crisis management, and support services. As part of an interdisciplinary team to help students succeed, school social workers also facilitate community involvement in schools while advocating for student success. They are trained mental health professionals who can assist with mental health concerns, positive behavioural support, academic and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents and administrators as well as provide individual and group counselling and therapy.
What can the service School Social Workers provide?
- Develop and coordinate need based intervention strategies to increase academic success/
- Supportive training and interventions to develop age appropriate social and life skills.
- Assisting the child in understanding and accepting self and others.
- Assisting students with mental health concerns.
- Providing staff with essential information to better understand the intra psychic and socio-economic factors affecting a student’s performance and behaviour.
- Helping teachers to make strategies for behaviour modification of each individual student in need.
- Develop teacher edification programs based on the need assessment.
- Working with parents to facilitate their support in their children’s school adjustment.
- Alleviating family stress to enable the child to function more effectively in school and community.
- Assisting parents to access programs available to students with special needs.
- Working with those problems in a child’s living situation that affect the child’s adjustment in school
- Mobilizing family, school, and community resources to enable the child to learn as effectively as possible.
How do they work?
School Social Work is an evidence based practice. They use professional methods and techniques for realizing the objectives. They do need assessments, screening tests, case works, group works, counselling, psychotherapy, community organization, life skill training, resource mobilization, adult education programs etc.
Who can play the role of School Social Worker?
School Social Worker is a mental health professional with Master of Social Work (MSW) qualification. Those who have experience on the field can be the best resource for the purpose. Schools can either appoint the professional or get consultation from expert social workers for implementing the School Social Work practices. School Social Work has been considered as one key parameter for understanding the concern of schools in the wellbeing of students as well as raising the brand.
Zuhail Babu P. is a well-known Mental Health Social Worker and Experiential Educator. He works as Director, Lifelab International (lifelabintl.com). He is a post graduate in psychiatric social work and PhD scholar in Tata Institute of Social Science. He is a consultant for School Social Work an acclaimed experiential educator in the field of teacher edification, child and adolescent development, age appropriate parenting and psychological competencies with wide portfolio with many schools. Zuhail is a researcher in the area of school mental health and passionate for the concept of ‘Organic Education’. He is a consultant for Activity Based Learning(ABL). He has rich experience and learning in Montessori Method of Education, Play Therapy, Transactional Analysis in Education and Lifelong Learning.