German Studies Discussion workshop on student mental health in foreign languages

Last Thursday, Dartmouth College saw another significant advancement in student well-being within language learning. German Studies faculty Heidi Denzel and Nick Ostrau organized and led a roundtable discussion with LauraBeth White from the Student Wellness Center. The event, sponsored by the Language Program Director Group and hosted by Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), brought together faculty from various language departments along with representatives from Instructional Technology and DCAL. The Student Wellness Center contributed additional strategies to support language learners through various well-being practices and shared resources available to faculty.

Denzel and Ostrau spearheaded the FLOW (Foreign Language Offering Wellbeing) initiative within German Studies, sharing innovative approaches such as in-class meditation, affirmative language drills, ungrading, and untimed exams to support mental wellness. Denzel emphasized the importance of inclusive environments that accommodate diverse student needs. Ostrau (German Language Program Director) highlighted the need to keep divergent learning styles and biorythms in mind when designing inclusive, stress-reduced language curriculums.

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with faculty expressing eagerness to implement similar changes to reduce student stress and anxiety.

This workshop followed Denzel's remarks at the Commitment to Care event earlier this week, where she highlighted campus resources like the Mindful Dartmouth Initiative's Faculty Toolkit.

President Beilock, who was in attendence at the earlier event praised Denzel's advocacy and the FLOW initiative for increasing mindfulness and well-being practices in education, emphasizing the effort as supporting Dartmouth's commitment to holistic student support.

The collaborative efforts of Denzel, Ostrau, White, and their colleagues exemplify Dartmouth's dedication to fostering an inclusive academic environment that prioritizes student mental health.

For more information on upcoming initiatives and resources, visit the German FLOW website, the Dartmouth College website and the Mindful Dartmouth Initiative's Faculty Toolkit.