UBC Okanagan study finds kids see teaching as an act of kindness

The survey consisted of kindergarten to Grade 3 students in the Central Okanagan School District.

Assistant professor John Tyler teaches education at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

It seems the stereotypical image of children liking, or finding good in their teachers, is correct.

According to a recent UBC study that surveyed 650 local elementary students, 42 per cent of them believe that teaching is an act of kindness. The survey consisted of kindergarten to Grade 3 students in the Central Okanagan Valley School District (23).

“Understanding how kindness is conceptualized and perceived by students has implications for educators hoping to foster pro-social behaviour in and among students,” says Assist. Prof. John Tyler Binfet who teaches education at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “Early elementary students are, by and large, attentive to kindness modelled by teachers and are able to identify characteristics of teachers’ kind acts.”

In the study, students were asked to draw two pictures. A self-image performing an act of kindness and the other of their teacher also performing an act of kindness. The students were not given a definition of kindness.

Binfet says 27 per cent of the students drew images of teachers helping individual students, while 16 per cent drew their teacher instructing the entire class. And 21 per cent of students illustrated their teachers physically helping students as an act of kindness.

Similarly, when asked to draw a self-image, 54 per cent of the students drew images of themselves maintaining friendships.

“The finding of this study provides more information about young children’s conceptual understanding of school kindness in several possible ways,” says Binfet. “By asking students to draw an act of kindness we are given a glimpse into how young children understand and interpret kind school-based behaviour.”

Students captioned the pictures with a number of phrases that explained that their teacher was helping them.

While further study is needed, kindness studies like this could be a useful tool in teacher training and relationship building in school contexts, says Binfet.

“The more students positively view their classroom and teachers, the better they’ll be engaged in lessons and learning. Teachers should find comfort in the findings of this study,” he says. “It’s not taking students on field trips or organizing elaborate activities that’s seen as kindness—it’s teachers doing what they do best everyday in front of students.”

Just Posted

Missed a week of news? We’ve got you covered

Every Saturday, we post popular stories from the week

Long-time Hedley fan weighs in on concert

Davis Wiggs attended Hedley’s final show last night

Kelowna couple hoping for a miracle

Endang Suslash is hoping to stay in Canada so she continue receiving treatment for kidney failure

Highway potholes under ministry jurisdiction

The District of Lake Country doesn’t touch the highway when it comes to filling potholes

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in Kelowna before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Prospera Place

Bottle drive held for Kelowna fire victim’s family

Springfield Elementary held a bottle drive today to support the Van Gool family

B.C. umpire has developed thick skin after 30 years listening to insults

Scott McLaren pays no mind to comments from the cheap seats

Musicians Sarah Harmer, Grimes join B.C. anti-pipeline protests

Musicians are in Vancouver for the Juno Awards on Sunday night

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Snowfall warning for Highway 3

Kelowna - A snowfall warning is in effect from Paulson Summit to Kootenay Pass

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read