There are many pressures that come with being a student, from doing well in school to being accepted by peers. This can be a lot to deal with while growing up in such a fast-paced world–and it can cause mental health deficits that leave lasting effects.
Prior to COVID-19, about 15-20 percent of students already needed mental health support, and following all the uncertainty and change the pandemic has brought into the learning space, that number is only set to increase. Teachers and other school staff often step in to help a student when they realize something is wrong, but, with so many students, shifting responsibilities, and potentially virtual classrooms during the pandemic, staff can easily overlook a student who needs help.
However, when staff members are equipped with the right tools, they can track their observations alongside other data to help monitor students’ moods to catch mental health issues early.
Tapping into everyday data to reveal student mental health trends
Teachers already record plenty of student data, such as attendance and grades, but each piece of information is typically kept in separate databases or logged physically and not stored in a database at all. This limits the data’s ability to be aggregated to reveal trends over time, in turn limiting its ability to inform staff of students’ mental health. However, if this information is recorded on a communication portal, it can all be stored on one platform and be aggregated to reveal any irregularities.
Aggregated information can be pulled into a data and analytics dashboard to be formatted and displayed for easy viewing. When each of these data sets are broken down and compared amongst one another, it reveals patterns in students’ behavior. Whether a staff member is interested in how students are doing overall, or if they want to access a snapshot of a single student, they can do that.
For example, if a student who typically attends class every day and makes superior grades begins to do poorly on several assignments and miss school frequently, a teacher can make note of the irregular trend and reach out to the student and their family to be sure everything is going okay.
Adding mood monitoring into record keeping
When using a communication platform and a data and analytics dashboard, teachers/staff can also record and use additional information, such as students’ moods. Teachers can record each of their students’ daily moods just as they would record their attendance. This means that after each class, teachers can record each students’ mood on a scale from one to 10, which helps turn what may seem like a mundane observation into concrete data. When this information is compiled it can reveal trends that would otherwise never be connected.
For example, a student may show up to every class in a good mood except for one, or maybe a student is consistently marked as being upset on a particular day of the week. This kind of information could reveal that the student is experiencing bullying in a certain class or another stressor at home. When a teacher or other staff member has access to this information, they can intervene and connect with the student and/or their parents to ensure the student’s well-being is prioritized.
Explaining the importance of comparing mood data with other classroom data
Although mood data is critical to show changes in mental health, it’s not always going to reveal which students teachers should reach out to. Because a dashboard may use multiple data sets, such as attendance, grades, and mood, it can be easier for staff to spot when a student is exhibiting concerning or changing behavior.
For example, a student might begin to miss more classes than normal and have a drop in their grades, but not much change in their demeanor. These changes in attendance and grades are still concerning changes to look out for, even with normal mood data. When a staff member can view all of this information together, it can be a lot easier to identify which students might need more help or attention, rather than relying only on personal observation.
With the pandemic putting extra pressure on students and more responsibilities on teachers, everyone needs all of the help they can get. Tools like a communication portal and a data analytics dashboard can help both teachers and students by streamlining many processes, including attendance, grading, and getting students the help they need, whether that’s mental health services, tutoring, or assistance at home. For students, asking for help can often seem intimidating, but when teachers are given the right tools, they are able to identify which students may need their help without students even needing to feel the pressure to ask.
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