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Want to Support Student Well Being? I Know! (Here’s Help)

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You’ve probably seen me amplifying Amplifier already this year, in my post about featuring contemporary Indigenous voices in your classroom or the one about spotlighting Black artists, activists and authors in your classrooom.

Amplifier.org is doing such powerful things with art. Empowering things. And I love it!

That’s why when I saw their new interactive poster series on wellbeing and mental health, I just had to put a big spotlight on it. Because this is a resource every teacher can use right now, and it’s completely free to download.

So today I’m talking to Emily Goulding, executive director of Amplifier.org, about Amplifier’s mission in the world and how it can help educators reach their students. We’re talking about why Amplifier exists, how it uses art to spark conversation and provide inspiration, and how the new wellbeing series that Amplifier has created can make a difference in your classroom through the simple act of downloading their free poster set.

You can listen in to this episode 182 below, click here to tune in on any podcast player, or read on for the full post.

Amplifier’s Mission

Amplifier’s mission, as they see it, is to amplify the most important social movements of our day. They bring conversations into public spaces through different kinds of public art. Their organization is non-partisan, actually drawing attention to enduring conversations about justice, environment, human connection, empathy, and more.

Amplifier works to provide a vision of a more hopeful, connected, sustainable future. As Emily put it, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”

The Well + Being Series

Amplifier’s newest series of artworks, the Well + Being series, shares tools and messaging to help support well being in a range of ways. Their free posters are interactive, both through the possibility to download an app that creates a VR element to the posters, but even more conveniently, through QR interactivity that helps students go further.

Amplifier’s leadership noticed as COVID began to fade in urgency that people were not feeling well enough to move toward a brighter future. Amplifier began to ask how they could help support people to be calm enough in the present to imagine a better future. They interviewed folks across many areas of society, partnered with a variety of organizations, and came up with a series of fourteen artworks and interactive matching posters.

Here’s how Amplifier describes the series on their site:

“Amplifier now considers mental health to be THE challenge of the 21st century. To address it, we created the 14-piece ‘Well + Being’ series, which includes thematic teaching tools designed to help young people find their center, address their trauma, and cultivate the peace they need to make the world anew.

This beautiful new AR-activatable series addresses topics such as racial stress, communication techniques, and best practices for handling conflict. It emerged from original research and collaborative partnership with youth, with mental health experts, with artists from all over the globe, and with our frontline educators, 99% of whom said that students’ wellbeing impacts their learning in the classroom, and 83% of whom said that mental health was one of the most important social issues to their students. “

Click here to visit Amplifier and download the poster series for free.

Using Amplifier Tools in a Politically Divided Nation

Amplifier’s tools are meant to spark conversation and provide inspiration.

As Emily puts it, the artwork is not red hot, the political context is.

So while educators might be anxious about putting up a poster of artwork that shows a world in harmony with its environment or a student’s identity being accepted, Amplifier doesn’t really see these as highly debatable issues.

So many Amplifier artworks represent conversations that have been happening for ages – important conversations. Amplifier isn’t trying to push a specific answer to the conversations raised by their artwork, they’re trying to help provide a means to more public conversation around important social movements.

My sketchnotes from this episode

Connect with Amplifier

Visit the Education Amplifier site here and sign up to be part of their educator community.

Explore the Amplifier lesson plan bank.

Image from the Amplifier Website

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