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Well-being strategies: Reflection, discussion, or database practice

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On the Facebook page for the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Pooja V. Anand posted this excellent list of 16 “strategies for maintaining well-being during COVID19 Crisis.”

  • Self-reflection: reflect on yourself, your values, goals
  • Self-regulation: manage your emotions, create a daily routine
  • Love of learning: learn new skills, develop new hobbies
  • Flow: identify activities which you enjoy and engage in them
  • Relationships: nurture your relationships, spend time with family, online conversations with friends
  • Kindness: practicing random acts of kindness, being helpful
  • Self-compassion: being kind to yourself, accepting yourself
  • Mindfulness: focus on the present moment and current experiences
  • Savouring: savour the little joys of life like time spent with family, doing your favourite activities like reading, writing
  • Gratitude: count your blessings; express gratitude for the blessings in your life, appreciate what you have
  • Optimism: cultivate optimism, expecting that good things will happen in the future
  • Humour: make other people smile and laugh
  • Growth: Use this challenging situation as an opportunity for growth
  • Developing strengths: focus on developing your strengths
  • Purpose and meaning: reflect on your purpose in life and what gives your life meaning
  • Hope: set goals for the future, plan how you will achieve them and motivate yourself

 

Here are a few ways you can use this list with your students.

Reflection assignment

Give students this writing prompt: “In the last week, have you, a friend, or family member used any of these sixteen strategies? If so, pick one strategy, and provide an example of how you, your friend, or family member has used it. Of the strategies that you personally have not used, choose two and describe how you can work them in over next month.”

Online discussion assignment

For the initial post, use the same prompt as for the reflection assignment. For responses, ask students to reply to two or more classmates using Jenn Stewart-Mitchell’s three comments and a question (3C & Q) model:

  • A compliment, e.g., "I like how... because...," I like that... because..."
  • A comment, e.g., "I agree that... because...," "I disagree that... because..."
  • A connection, e.g., "I have done something similar,...," "I have also thought that...," "That reminds me of..."
  • A question, e.g., "I wonder why...," "I wonder how..." 

Zoom discussion assignment

If you’re teaching via Zoom, paste Anand’s list of strategies into or upload a file to chat (or make the list available in your learning management system). Next give students this discussion prompt before sending small groups of students to breakout rooms.

“Which of these strategies is or would be easiest for you to engage in? What about it makes it feel easiest? Give an example of how you do it in your life or how you could do it. After everyone has shared their ideas, which idea does the group like the best? Identify a spokesperson to report out to the class.”

After fifteen minutes, bring the class back together, and ask each spokesperson to identify the strategy and how it has been or could be implemented.

Library database practice

Assign, say, four of these sixteen strategies to each of your students.

“Visit our library databases to find two peer-reviewed articles related to each of your assigned strategies. For each article, download the pdf and then upload it with your assignment. Note whether the findings reported in each article help support or help refute the argument that the strategy helps with well-being. Briefly explain each of your support/refute decisions.”

That may be enough for this assignment. If you would like to expand it, here are some other possible additions.

  • Write the references in APA format.
  • Provide an annotated bibliography.
  • Identify whether each study was correlational or experimental, and briefly describe how you know.
  • Identify the variables in each study.

If your students have not had practice using your library databases to date, contact your institution’s librarians for the best ways to help students get started on this assignment.

Consider taking all of the resources your students found, compiling them into separate reference lists by strategy, and making those lists available to your students.

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About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology in community colleges since 1992, and has been at Highline College in the Seattle area since 2001. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award . She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed.