A bright student who hated going to school for years, who lost her interest in her own passions that she loved to do as a child, who felt numb any time when she had to go back to her class started to disengage in the classroom context, became depressed, withdrew even from her social life and could not find any motivation in anything anymore. To sum up she lost her well-being.
Exactly this student – only after a few days of experience at School Beyond Limitations – reconnected with her artistic innate talent and started to draw and paint again. Her mother was in tears and shouted out: ‘I have my child back again!’
What has happened? How can that be that a 12 years old student suddenly changes so drastically and starts to open up? Also from an emotional point of view? The family is speechless: Their daughter never talked about what was really going on within herself! And suddenly, also this changes! She opens up, talks to her teacher-mentors, talks to her parents and starts to heal long lasting psychological pain that she was not able to communicate to the outer world before.
Why did that happen?
In the girl’s own words it reads as follows: ‘I feel freer and very good than in my other school. Sometimes I was very tired and that changed now. I am happy to have school. I am happy to work on my projects. I am more motivated to do things. I really like the teachers and the children in my class. I am happier than ever before!’
The student feels freer, she feels being taken seriously. This has an impact on her emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. She understands that she counts as a unique human being. She is seen for what she is! She does not get compared with others. It is all about her own well-being, her own learning journey, her own openness in order to enter into an energetic space for learning and a space of insightful understanding.
When students experience an environment of care, affection, uniqueness, open-mindedness, empathy, interconnectedness then they enter such a space of well-being.
The achievement of success because of well-being
Once they are in that space they are ready to open up; to reconnect with their innate essence and start to see the world around them with eyes of wonder and curiosity. They reconnect with their inner knowing and become aware that they can make conscious choices that allow them to follow their energy. As a consequence they achieve success.
Success, I believe, and this is the philosophy of School Beyond Limitations, is based on each student’s and each coworker’s well-being because then they are ready to use their full potential. Instead of questioning themselves they ask powerful questions such as ‘How can I contribute to the best?, What else is possible here? Where can I make the difference? How can I take my learning to the next level? How can I impact my surroundings to the best? What if failure were the mother of success?…’
I so often experienced the shift that students undertake when they feel comfortable, when they see that they are seen for what they are, when they feel that there is connection between one another, when they see and experience that ‘failure’ is something different from what they have learned in society and in the standardized system in which all is geared towards avoiding mistakes. We, instead, encourage our students to make mistakes as mistakes are the pathway towards new outcomes, towards conscious insights. They become aware of the diversity around them and within them and start to appreciate that by being in a state of mind of wonder and not of judgement.
This catapults them into a level of consciousness that connects them with their intuitive minds – that allows them to see, think and act beyond apparent patterns! With this intrinsic energy they empower themselves and their surroundings by starting enterprises and projects that leave footprints within themselves, their groups and the society they live in.
As for the student that I have mentioned at the beginning she has started to share her artistic talents with her peers. They and all staff members encourage her to create new drawings. She is now working on a comic book that she may publish in the future.
Feeling well in her new learning environment has ignited an empowering energy within herself and as such she has started to embark on a different kind of educational process that she has experienced, so far. With this example (and this is just one out of many) I would argue (please also read ‘The Flourishing Student: Every tutor’s guide to promoting mental health, well-being and resilience in Higher Education’ by Fabienne Vailes) that well-being is THE main key to unlock any human being’s innate potential.