Creating an Inclusive and Health Promoting Learning Environment in Primary School

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: Creating an Inclusive and Health Promoting Learning Environment in Primary School
Stream: Learning Experiences, Student Learning & Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
May Olaug Horverak, Birkenes Learning Centre, Norway
Gerd Martina Langeland, Lillesand Upper Secondary School, Norway


Many students struggle with mental health issues and low motivation in today’s school, and the problems often start as early as primary school. Surveys show that children at the age of ten to twelve struggle with loneliness, sadness, low self-esteem, bullying, stress and physical problems. One of five dread going to school. The current study will present an approach that can be applied to facilitate for making the children themselves engaged in creating a safe, health promoting and inclusive learning environment for everyone in primary school. This approach includes five steps, which are identifying 1) what is important, 2) success factors, 3) obstacles, 4) what needs focus and 5) what specifically can be done to change the situation. The students reflect on these questions individually in writing and through discussions in class. In this way, the children themselves find solutions to obstacles under guidance from an adult. Results on evaluations from four fifth grade groups show that of 58 students, 38 think the method helps them find out what is important, 31 becomes motivated, 45 have managed to follow their own plans, 31 have become better at finding solutions, 44 enjoy more being together in school and 36 like using the method. We conclude that children in primary school may be engaged in influencing their learning environment and their own situation in a positive direction when teachers facilitate for this.

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