If you ask parents what they most want for their child, many will say something like this: ‘I just want my child to be happy’.
Whilst most understand that they cannot ensure their children are permanently happy, they are often unprepared for seeing their children frequently or deeply sad. ‘Why are our children so unhappy?’ is a question that baffles parents worldwide but a new book edited by Dr Maria Efstratopoulou aims to provide an understanding of the factors that influence children’s emotions which it believes is essential for anyone interacting with young children.
Differing from most books in the field, which focus on offering advice to professionals on how to manage children’s behaviour, Bring My Smile Back: Working with Unhappy Children in Education aims to explore the crucial link between emotions, well-being and learning and the wider social factors affecting children’s happiness.
The authors, including several of Dr Efstratopoulou’s colleagues at BGU, draw from a range of experience, examples, case studies and educational approaches to engage with children’s’ wellbeing and emotions. With chapters covering areas such as ‘Can we define happiness?’, supporting children with communication problems and the ‘(Un)Happiness of Black and Ethnic Minority Children’ Bring My Smile Back focuses on children’s happiness rather than their academic achievements and positive behaviour, in essence putting children’s Smiles at the heart of teaching.
Writing in the book’s forward Professor Scott Fleming, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in BGU, praised the publication’s accessible exploration as a “landmark contribution” to education:
“Children’s wellbeing and happiness have become matters of global concern. This important and exciting collection brings together the work of an impressive team of International Social science scholars and practitioners to address these challenges. Its timing could hardly be better. The chapters have a very accessible structure and format, they are conceptually sophisticated and have an explicit applied professional practitioner emphasis. They should be read by students, researchers, policy-makers and those responsible for service delivery. If they are Bring my smile back: Working with unhappy children in education is likely to become a landmark contribution.
I am delighted to endorse a book that features my colleagues from Bishop Grosseteste University. With a rich heritage in teacher education and training, this book is an embodiment of many of our traditional values as well as a firm commitment to health-related subject fields that form part of our portfolio of undergraduate and taught postgraduate awards”
Also involved in the publication were Craig Bridge, Educational Psychologist and Lecturer, Dr. Hadiza Kere Abdulrahman, Lecturer of Inclusive Education and Dr.Tracy Jeffery, Lecturer in SENI all from BGU.