Best Practice

Compassion in the classroom

A compassionate approach can improve mental wellbeing, promote prosocial behaviour and underpin ethical and moral development according to Dr Mary Welford. Emma Lee-Potter finds out more

It is three years since SecEd highlighted the work of clinical psychologist Dr Mary Welford (December 2015).

At the time Dr Welford was working with Marine Academy Plymouth, an all-through academy in Devon, to improve the wellbeing of teachers, students and the local community using compassion-based initiatives.

She has defined this approach, based on Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and originally developed by psychologist Paul Gilbert, as one that “generates psychological wellbeing for students, staff, parents and the wider community”.

Her view is that the wellbeing of teachers and students is inextricably linked and that getting staff to adopt an empathetic, compassionate and reflective approach to themselves, their colleagues and their pupils helps teachers and students alike.

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