Active Learning Blog

Active learning blog

The Active Learning Blog created by the Novigado project focuses on active learning, innovative learning spaces and integration of ICT in present and future classrooms and schools. In this blog we will read stories written by the project partners, Future Classroom Ambassadors, FCL network labs, teacher trainers, invited experts, etc. If you would like to submit a story to be published, please send it to



Students’ well-being in the new normal

In this series of articles, you find some contributions of the Future Classroom Ambassadors who support the local teacher community in their country.  They share ideas that will be inspiring for the European and global community of teachers in this new learning landscape.

Author: Boglárka Tóth– FCL Ambassador Hungary


The pandemic was and still is a difficult time for everyone and it has a tremendous impact on students’ everyday life. Teachers try to do their best, to provide all data and information on each subject they teach however just giving a lecture is not enough. We have to focus on students’ well-being, too.

Living in isolation with other family members all the time can try us and the children, too. It can cause stress, insomnia, fatigue, etc. In schools, we rarely teach techniques that can release stress although we all agree how important it is to feel relaxed during the lessons and at home.

The pandemic, studying online, being isolated are all strong stress factors but we can make everyday life better for the students with some techniques.

How can we help? Use the three Cs: Communication, Consistency, and Control.

COMMUNICATION: mental health check-in

The importance of communication seems so obvious but teaching and studying from home makes it more difficult, especially if there are not enough devices for it in the family.

It is important (in fact students need it) to talk about the actual situation. Because simply talking about their fears, about this difficult situation and sharing their negative emotions can help them in reducing stress and coping with the situation.

Every student is different. Some of them can share their emotions easily but some of them will be silent during the lessons. If this is the case, what can you do? You can start your online lesson with a poll. Usually, the beginning of an online lesson is about waiting for everyone to connect. The first five minutes are enough to collect information about students’ well-being.

Use Google form or online polls like Mentimeter. If you don’t like online tools, you can simply ask them to write on the chat board. On a scale 1 (I am not ok or I have problems) - 5 (I feel great) how great/bad do you feel?

When you get the answers try to react to them. What are the difficulties? How can you help? What can they do to make it better?

If it is not possible to reach students online, then send them a phone number (with the homework) where they can ask for help if they need it.

It is also important to communicate with the parents. Try to use the same channel each time and support them, too.


Schedules and routines

Giving a schedule, a daily routine to the students can help them to feel safer. The schedule might include wake-up time, lessons, reading, exercise, going outside, relaxation and rewards (e.g. watching TV, games), as well. You can also recommend them to use a daily planner, so they can think over and plan their day (Daily planner - Sample) -  or a whole week (Weekly plannerSample). 

Online lessons

At the beginning of the lesson specify the aim of the lesson (practice, new information, etc.). Make the rules about using the camera, asking questions, netiquette. Tell them to be honest and polite even if it is an online session.

Give the opportunity (online office hours) to the parents and students to ask questions or reach you online. Use for instance Doodle to book your time.

Online tools

When you teach online use the same platform and video conference tool each time. Send the homework at the same time in the same format. Try to avoid sending materials or tasks in the evenings or at night. Separate the learning and relaxing time, do not forget you also need to have a rest as a teacher.

If you want to use new tools during the lesson, first give a short presentation on how to use them, and then start using them. Gradually it will be better; the students will be more and more confident and enthusiastic about it.

Set clear requirements

It can also be a stress factor if the students don’t know the requirements e.g. the form of assessment, how will you evaluate their work. Discuss it with them at the beginning, make it clear how you will assess them, what are your requirements. You can help them by creating a checklist for instance about an essay or homework.

Time for relaxation and exercise (Mens sana in corpore sano)

The daily routine also has to include time for relaxation and for exercise. When the students study online it is essential to stand up from time to time, to stretch their muscles because sitting all day in front of the computer can cause spine problems and obesity.

Doing exercise and some sports regularly has a strong effect on the students’ physical and emotional health. Recommend online videos, activities that they can do to feel better. Start projects about health, well-being, eating habits, different types of training.

Don’t forget the phrase “a healthy mind in a healthy body” because physical exercise is a fundamental part of mental well-being.


A sense of control can give students the feeling to be more comfortable and safe. However, some situations and crises can cause stress and students can be completely consumed by emotional reactions. Teaching and using some techniques can help them to take control over a situation.

Self-care plan

Teach them to create a self-care plan. What is it and how does it work? It is an intervention, an identified structure: people, and activities that can help the students feel better.

  1. Ask your students to create a list of activities that make them calm or happy e.g. listening to music, running, colouring, meditation, etc.
  2. When the list is ready, ask them to identify one or two people with whom they have a good relationship and to who they can turn for help to.
  3. Ask them to identify the stressors: what/who makes them nervous, stressed? Then ask them to think through a typical day, find the reason for the stress. Then ask them: ‘What can you do about it to feel better to avoid stress?
  4. Make them create a plan about how they would react if they were stressed. E.g. choose some activities that make them relax.

For example, if someone has test anxiety (when the students feel so much pressure that they are actually unable to do their best) and listening to music makes them calm, then recommend listening to music before the exam.

There is another method, a great way to feel better in a stressful situation which is to focus on breathing.

Breathing techniques

Box breathing (a.k.a square or four-square breathing)

Box breathing is a technique that helps release stress and anxiety. It can be beneficial to anyone who wants to reduce stress. It is used by everyone from athletes, police officers, nurses even to U.S. Navy Seals.

Sitting upright, slowly exhale through your mouth, letting all the oxygen out of your lungs. Focus on this intention and be conscious of what you’re doing. Then start the box breathing. Imagine a square (you can use a photo or a picture) during the technique, or use the image below.

  1. Breath in for 4 seconds through your nose filling completely your lungs and abdomen with air.
  2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  3. Breath out for 4 seconds through your mouth.
  4. Hold your breath again for 4 seconds, expelling the air from your lungs and abdomen.

You can do 4-5 sets at a time, and it will help you to relax.

According to this research, there’s evidence that intentional deep breathing can calm and regulate the autonomic nervous system.

4-7-8 breathing (relaxing breath)

The technique is developed by dr. Andrew Weil, and it is based on an ancient yogic technique called pranayama. It involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. Using this breathing technique requires a person to focus on taking a long, deep breath in and out.

  1. Find a comfortable sitting position, place the tip of the tongue on the tissue behind the top front teeth.
  2. Breath out, empty your lungs of air.
  3. Breath in through the nose for 4 seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for 7 seconds.
  5. Exhale forcefully through the mouth with pursed lips for 8 seconds.

Repeat the cycle up to 4 times, use the technique at least twice a day to see the benefits.

Using breathing techniques can also help the students to release stress, to feel and sleep better and get the control back, which is essential in a crisis.


Key Info

  • Funding: Erasmus+ Programme Key Action 2 (School Education - Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices)
  • Start time: 01-12-2019
  • Duration: 30 months
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Erasmus+ Programme (funded with the support by)

The Novigado project is funded with support from the European Commission's Erasmus+ Programme. This publication/website reflects the views only of the author, and the EC cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.