#100daysofpositivity is a Big Hit With Dubai Schools
It’s been 43 days since Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, launched the #100daysofpositivity campaign, and since then the hashtag has been going viral across Dubai’s schools.
Back in October 2016, private schools here were set the 100-day challenge to share what their schools are doing to boost positivity among students, parents and teachers.
Launched by the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the #100DaysOfPositivity initiative aims to help create a culture of positive learning in schools. And create that culture it has. The campaign has seen many schools introduce wellness programmes into its everyday schedules.
Gary Mallon, Head of Primary at Greenfield Community School, said positivity has been a huge focus at his school – and they aim to keep it that way. “We are all taught this ethos that ‘no news is good news’ but we wanted to flip that culture. Instead of parents only coming to us with complaints, we initiated a positive parent feedback board,” he said. Since the hashtag went public, the school has also put a huge emphasis on its mindfulness and wellbeing practices too, including the conversion of one classroom into a dedicated wellness room. “We don’t think there is a room like this in other schools. Our students can come here to practice breathing techniques, engage in sensory activities and basically just chill out. Schools are so fast-paced nowadays that students need a haven like this,” Mallon said.
At Gems Metropole School, positivity boards have proved a big hit among students and teachers too.
Sophie Cullen, the school’s Wellbeing Coordinator, said its pastoral leaders have taken the bull by the horns. “We have created feedback boards throughout the school where students, parents and teachers can write what keeps them positive in school. We’ve also created this ‘random act of kindness’ culture, where students stick random post-its around the school with messages on how well students or teachers have performed that week.”
With 2,800 students in all, the message of positivity is reaching far and wide, she said. But not only is it directly benefitting students, it has improved the teacher-learner relationship too, KS2 pastoral leader Rachel Sinclair said. “Being so open with students makes you feel more relatable to them. You’re not just their teacher, you’re their friend: that makes our working environment much more pleasant.”
For Romana D’Annunzio, an English teacher at Jumeirah English Speaking School, the campaign has further emphasised the culture of caring among her students. She hopes the positive actions go far beyond the 100-day hashtag.
For the past two years, D’Ann-unzio has taken the lead on a number of great positivity-focused initiatives, including ‘Kindness Raids’, where students and teachers give out letters of thanks to one another. “It has been a great success, but this new hashtag campaign is just another step helping spread positivity here every week,” she said.