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Lesson support for teachers

Encouraging a classroom environment in which sensitive issues such as mental health can be discussed comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest aims of the BrainWaves lessons is to get teachers and students discussing mental health issues. However, even the most prepared teacher with the best materials can encounter issues with engagement. That is why we have prepared a series of resources to help you prepare for success.

Tips on teaching mental health

Read a selection of our expert blogs to support your teaching of the BrainWaves lessons.


Stress management for teachers

Check out our top tips for stress management from a teacher’s perspective

Positive psychology and student wellbeing

Read our top 5 insights into how positive psychology can be used to improve student mental health.

Five key questions on teenagers and sleep

Get sleep tips from world-leading expert, Professor Russell Foster, from the University of Oxford.

Encouraging student discussion

Find out how student talk can be used within the BrainWaves lessons to enhance learning.

Effective teacher questioning

Instil a sense of wonder and participation in your students by using effective questions.

Differentiating the BrainWaves lessons

Ensure every student can access the BrainWaves learning at the appropriate level for them.

Using the ‘no hands up’ technique

Encourage maximum student participation in sensitive discussions using this technique.

Grouping for effective discussion

Get the most out of student discussion and group work in your classroom.

BrainWaves glossary of research terms

Use these definitions to help students understand the BrainWaves research studies.

What the research says

Find out about the scientific evidence behind the wellbeing strategies suggested in our lessons.

Active listening

Active listening involves paying close attention to what someone is saying and demonstrating verbally and non-verbally.

Behavioural activation

Behavioural activation is a well-researched strategy for boosting mood, and can even treat depression.

Getting natural light

Natural light is an environmental cue that influences your body’s natural 24-hour clock (or circadian rhythm).


Progressive muscle relaxation is a widely-used technique which has been shown to reduce anxiety and tension.

Free resources

Download and use these resources to help you prepare for and deliver BrainWaves lessons.

Understanding the teenage brain

Use this PowerPoint presentation, kindly provided by Dr John Coleman, to learn about the changes that happen to the teenage brain and how you can support them.

10 facts about teenage sleep

A selection of evidence-based research behind adolescent sleep to help inform and inspire your teaching of this important topic.

Frequently asked questions


Please check out these FAQs for any queries you might have on the BrainWaves lessons.

  • Is there a charge to use the BrainWaves lessons?

    No. The lessons and supporting materials are provided completely free of charge by the BrainWaves project.

  • How many BrainWaves lessons are there?

    There are currently 16 lessons available within the BrainWaves wellbeing curriculum:

    • 5 lessons for students aged 11-14 years (KS3)
    • 5 lessons for students aged 14-16 years (KS4)
    • 6 lessons for students aged 16-18 years (KS5)

    More lessons will become available throughout 2024. You can find a copy of the rationale behind the curriculum and all the planned lessons here. 

  • Do I have to teach all the lessons in order?

    The BrainWaves lessons do not need to be taught in order, however we do recommend starting with the lesson on ‘The Science Behind Wellbeing’ as this provides an overview of the PERMA principles that are explored throughout the curriculum.

    The lessons are most beneficial as a programme – but if you have taught various topics before, or wish to focus on certain topics, you can just run them as standalone lessons.

  • How long do BrainWaves lessons run for?

    The BrainWaves lessons are structured flexibly so you can deliver them according to the length of your lesson (i.e. 40-50 minutes):

    • Part 1: 20 minutes
    • Part 2: 20 minutes
    • Part 3: 10 minutes

    If you have a longer 6o minute lesson, we simply suggest you allow more time for all the discussions and activities in each part.


  • Can I teach the BrainWaves lessons to different age groups than those recommended?

    Yes – within reason! The lessons have been specifically trialled with students of those age groups – but you may find that your students would benefit from using lessons from a higher or lower age range. Please consider the materials carefully before making your decision.

  • How were the BrainWaves lessons developed?

    The lessons were developed by combining the expert knowledge of leading academics at the University of Oxford and beyond, with the practical perspectives of PSHE teachers and lesson writers. All lessons were trialled with a range of secondary school teachers. Acknowledgements to all those involved in the lesson development can be found at the end of each lesson plan.

  • Can I give feedback on the BrainWaves lessons?

    Yes please! We would love to know what you think, as well as suggestions for improvement. Please email your feedback to Thank you!