How Happiness Increases Productivity

July 29th, 2018

When it comes to classroom productivity, the ideal classroom is a happy one. Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert defines happiness as frequent positive feelings accompanied by an overall sense that one’s life has purpose. In this way, happiness forms the very foundation of deep meaningful learning, where students are interested and invested in tasks that develop their problem-solving abilities.

Happiness and Academic Success

While a rich history of research has been devoted to instructional design and pedagogical strategy and techniques, much less attention has been focused on how happiness increases productivity in the classroom. Research has long shown that happiness increases productivity in the workplace, however researchers are now turning to education to explore the relationship between happiness and productivity.

Synthesizing data from hundreds of similar studies, research from Harvard Business Review found that happy people had 31% higher productivity, and their creativity was 3 times as high. Another study found that positive emotions translated into greater persistence at tasks and better cognitive functioning.

Moving away from the workplace and into the classroom, educational researchers are finding similar results. In a Harvard study conducted by Christina Hinton, it was found that in elementary school through high school, student self-rated levels of happiness, defined by “students’ satisfaction with school culture and relationships with teachers and peers” positively correlates with motivation and academic achievement.

Dr. Emma Seppala, Standford researcher and author of The Happiness Track agrees, stating, “Happy kids show up at school more able to learn because they tend to sleep better and may have healthier immune systems. Happy kids learn faster and think more creatively. Happy kids have stronger relationships and make new friends more easily.”

Between these results, and with the understanding that happy students are more cooperative and have better social relationships, one can begin to see how happiness increases productivity.

Creating a Happy, Productive Classroom

At Selwyn School, we understand that happiness is not something we can afford to lose in our classrooms. We cultivate and sustain inviting and engaging classroom environments, where students learn kindness and how to turn mistakes into opportunities.

Other practical ways to refocus and foster well-being in the classroom include:

  • Developing a positive student-teacher relationship with each student
  • Engaging students with relevant, interesting and compelling lessons
  • Helping students identify their strengths, specifically looking for strengths in past experiences and discussing how to use them in future learning

The key to promoting well-being, of course, is putting our students’ needs above all else, ensuring that they will have an emotionally enriching and balanced day. For more information on how we’re fostering happiness in our classrooms, contact Selwyn School today.


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