How to make the wellbeing check-in work at your school
The wellbeing check-in has become an integral part of effective wellbeing processes. This article draws upon the lessons learnt at Skodel and aims to assist your school community in embedding wellbeing check-ins sustainably and meaningfully. You may wish to review our Best Practice Guide as well.
We hope that after reading this, your face looks somewhat like our relaxed emoji when implementing a wellbeing check-in at your school.
How frequently should you check-in
We believe in ‘light touch, high impact’, and suggest 3 times a term or less. ‘Check-in’ evokes thinking that it should be done frequently but it’s important to consider:
- Getting meaningful data
- Responding meaningfully to meaningful data
- Juggling other priorities
When something becomes overly repetitive, it’s instinctive for our brain to just go through the motions. The check-in, whilst short, should be a safe space for everyone to reflect on how they are feeling in a purposeful way and start to consider what they can do for their own wellbeing.
Secondly, our research indicates that one of the big factors in participation is the perception from the person checking in that their voice is being heard. This doesn’t have to be burdensome, at an aggregated level, consider reviewing the data once or twice a year and sharing learnings + changes you may make with your community. At an individual level, Skodel reactions were designed to make this process quick yet powerful for teachers.
Lastly, we know that teachers juggle a crowded academic curriculum as is. Responding meaningfully on a weekly basis may become a low priority amongst other key activities during an academic year.
Who sends out check-ins (structure to make it work)
We have found that a more centralised approach is simple to manage and ensures consistency. Typically, for schools using Skodel across whole school, one person leads implementation at primary school and one at secondary. The person leading it determines when the check-in will go out and communicates it so that teachers can communicate with their students. This also helps keep a clean data set for review and trend analysis. Start with a basic check-in and overtime, you may wish to look at specific check-ins that can deep dive into focus areas or events you've identified.
Anonymous or identifiable (and liability)
The table below looks at pros and cons for students but we have seen both approaches work effectively! For teacher check-ins, anonymity is recommended to enable honest reflection.
Empower people to make wellbeing everyone's business
Ultimately, the check-in is for the individual to reflect on their own wellbeing and hopefully start to take steps to increase it. If there are resources available within your school, the check-in can be a great way to lead people toward these. At Skodel, we partnered with Andrew Fuller to build out interactive coaching and a wellbeing planning tool. These are recommended to students based on their check-in responses and assist them in identifying small changes they can make to increase their own wellbeing.
What does good engagement look like?
Ideally, everyone is reflecting on their wellbeing and proactively improving it but of course, this is not going to be the case. Consider even a 30% completion rate in a school of 1,000 checking in 3 times a term. As it won’t be the same 300 checking in, it’s likely to be at least 500 people that have reflected on their wellbeing. That’s potentially 500 lives that you have positively impacted! Things that will help participation are:
- Communicating the check-in has been sent and why it could support people
- Frequency (as above)
- Contextualise it. E.g. at the start of term, you could ask, how are you feeling about the term ahead
- Responding to data (as above)
Fun before science (also helps engagement)
We spent a lot of time working with academics to look at reliable measures and what to include in the check-in. It’s important the check-in is evidence based but ultimately, it needs to be fun too. People want to express themselves in natural and fun ways, so it’s important to make the experience exactly that.
I hope this has been helpful for your thinking. If you are looking to introduce a wellbeing check-in as part of your wellbeing processes, feel free to Contact Us or sign up for a free trial to explore Skodel’s solution.