Using their recent research, Oxford University Press (OUP) has chosen ‘anxiety’ as the word of the year for children.
Oxford University Press (OUP) had surveyed roughly 8,000 children aged 7-14 from 85 schools in the United Kingdom. Kids were asked to select the words they most often used to talk about health and wellbeing.
Over twenty percent of students chose “anxiety” (21%) as their number one word, reflecting the widespread impact lockdowns and school closures had on their wellbeing.
“Challenging” came in as their second choice (19%) closely followed by “isolate” (14%). “Wellbeing” (13%) and “resilience” (12%) were also in the children’s top five words, demonstrating their positive attitude in the face of recent challenges, according to OUP,’ reads a report by The Bookseller.
In response to the survey’s results, The Children’s Society’s executive director of social impact, Joe Jenkins, told the Guardian that ‘it was concerning that anxiety had been chosen as the top word, but not surprising considering all the restrictions and changes children have been subjected to’.
Teachers were also asked to select the top words they used to communicate with students about health and wellbeing, especially in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Among the top three words chosen by teachers were “resilience” (31%), “challenging” (19%), and “wellbeing” (18%).
According to The Bookseller, Helen Freeman, director of early childhood and home education at OUP, believes that language is crucial to self-expression, learning, and wellbeing. Specifically, the findings emphasize the important role teachers play in equipping children with appropriate vocabulary for expressing their emotions and supporting their wellbeing. The importance of supporting children’s language development at home and in school has therefore never been greater.”