Wellbeing in Educational Contexts

Wellbeing in Educational Contexts

Carter, Susan and Cecily Andersen

Contents

1

Foreword

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Acknowledgement of country

In the spirit of reconciliation the authors wish to acknowledge the Giabal and Jarowair peoples of the Toowoomba area, the Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul peoples of Ipswich and Springfield, the Kambuwal peoples of Stanthorpe and the Gadigal peoples of the Eora nation, Sydney as the keepers of ancient knowledge where USQ campuses and hubs have been built and whose cultures and customs continue to nurture this land.  As authors, we acknowledge the cultural diversity of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pay respect to Elders past, present and future. We celebrate the continuous living cultures of First Australians and acknowledge the important contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have and continue to make in Australian society. The authors wrote this textbook on the lands of the Giabal and Jarowair peoples of the Toowoomba area.

 

Acknowledgement

We sincerely thank Adrian Stagg, Manager (Open Educational Practice), Program Quality and Enhancement at the University of Southern Queensland who encouraged and guided us to publish our on-line textbook. His support and problem solving skills have been greatly appreciated as he helped bring the project to fruition. We also thank the Media Design and Development (MDD) team at the University of Southern Queensland, who helped us to  create some of the media images used in this text.  The kindness of colleagues has also been greatly appreciated as many people especially Melissa Fanshawe, took the time to provide feedback on images that we were considering for the book. Thank you to everyone who helped us in our journey to embrace the Pressbooks platform so that we could help realise our vision of providing an open, free, easily accessible textbook.

 

 

About the Authors

Susan Carter is both an educational leader and an academic. She has been an educator in schools for over 25 years in a variety of roles:  teacher; teaching principal; deputy principal; principal of a P-10 school; and as a principal of a large rural school. She has studied, education and two Master of Education degrees: one in special education, and the other in education theology. Her PhD research was in the area of how school Principals maintain their Subjective Well-Being. Her current research interests include: subjective well-being (SWB) in educational contexts; inclusion; social justice and school leadership.

Susan can be contacted by email:

Susan.Carter@usq.edu.au

or

susan.carter@bigpond.com.au

 

Cecily Andersen is an experienced educational leader. She has been an educator for over 40 years across a variety of roles: teaching, school leadership and district and regional educational leadership, within primary, secondary, inclusive education and Indigenous community settings across remote, rural and regional areas. Cecily Andersen’s research interests include social justice, wellbeing, leadership in complex contexts, and how school leaders use coaching and mentoring to build capacity in others.

Cecily can be contacted by email:

Cecily.Andersen@usq.edu.au

or

cecilyandersen@bigpond.com

 

Wellbeing as an issue

Wellbeing has been identified as a serious issue for principals, teachers and students within educational contexts. The problem of principal health and wellbeing has also been recognised at both national and state levels in Australia for the at least a decade and has been acknowledged as an issue of concern by the state, private, and independent school sectors. The first full scale independent study into the occupational health, safety and wellbeing of Australia’s school principals paints a pretty grim picture about the current work conditions for Australia’s school leadership (Riley, 2014). The survey of 2,049 principals found that along with threats and acts of violence, school principals are also more likely to be bullied, and are dealing with ever-increasing volumes of work and health problems due to stress (Riley, 2014). Phillips and Sen (2011, cited in Riley, 2014) reported that, “work related stress was higher in education than across all other industries…with work-related mental ill-health…almost double the rate for all industry” (p. 177-8). This trend appears to be continuing, with another report suggesting that that in Queensland over $10 million has been paid in five years to stressed teachers and that teachers are making more mental stress claims than in any other industry (Worksafe Queensland, 2013, as cited in Acton & Glasgow, 2015). Reducing these impacts of work stress in the teaching profession has been the focus of much research in education. Although historically resilience to stress has been the main focus of studies, research in the area has recently shifted towards the school wide promotion of wellbeing (Powell & Graham, 2017).

Figure  (i)  Photograph of a hand by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.

Within the wellbeing literature, there is a shared view that educational contexts  are best positioned to reach out to everyone and explicitly teach and promote wellbeing, potentially arresting trends of reported declining student and teacher wellbeing (Acton & Glasgow, 2015; Hogan, Thompson, Sellar, & Lingard, 2018), principal wellbeing (Riley, 2014), or of  feeling of not belonging (Allen,  Kern, Vella-Brodrick,  Hattie,  & Waters, 2018; Seligman, Ernst, Gillham, Reivch & Linkins, 2009).  There is, however, a lack of consensus as to the application and delivery of wellbeing programs within educational systems and educational contexts (Powell & Graham, 2017) and it is in this space that we hope to make worthwhile contribution.

 

 

References

Acton, R., & Glasgow, P. (2015). Teacher wellbeing in neoliberal contexts: A review of the literature. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40 (8), 6.

Allen, K., Kern, M. L., Vella-Brodrick, D., Hattie, J., & Waters, L. (2018). What schools need to know about fostering school belonging: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review. 30 (1), 1-34.

Hogan, A., Thompson, G., Sellar, S., & Lingard, B. (2018). Teachers’ and school leaders’ perceptions of commercialisation in Australian public schools. The Australian Educational Researcher, 45 (2), 141-160.

Powell, M.A. & Graham, A. (2017). Wellbeing in schools: Examining the policy practice nexus. Australian Educational Researcher, 44 (2), 213-231. doi.org/10.1007/s13384-016-0222-7

Riley, P. (2014). Australian principal occupational health, safety and wellbeing survey: 2011–2014 data. Melbourne, VIC: ACU.

Seligman, M., Ernst, R., Gillham, J., Reivich, K. & Linkins, M. (2009). Positive education: Positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35 (3), 293-311. doi: 10.1080/03054980902934563

Worksafe Queensland. (2013). Queensland teachers most stressed workers. Retrieved  23 March 2015 from: https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/education/articles/queensland-teachers-most-stressed-workers

1

Connecting And Activating Prior Knowledge

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Key Concepts:
  • Making meaning of the text.
  • Connecting and activating pertinent prior knowledge on wellbeing within educational contexts.
  • Connecting with your own sense of wellbeing.

Guiding question:

What do you already know about wellbeing and what do you need to learn?

Photograph of street art by Luis Alfonso Orellana on unsplash.

This photograph, shown on the left, which also appears on the front cover is representative of the opening of possibilities, the growing and co-creation of knowledge, and it is through these doors that we enter.

The colours on the doors can be seen to represent the differences in people, the perceptions of wellbeing and the differing feelings of wellbeing. Some colours are bold and vivid, others less so but the varying colours are what creates the spectacular artwork.

The imagery of the tree could be viewed as representative of the growing of wellbeing in more than one direction as the trees branch out. It is our hope as authors that the information contained in this book can be of use to help people in various educational contexts, support the growth of  positive wellbeing.

 

Introduction

Educational contexts (e.g., schools, special education units and early childhood centres) are places of social hope capital, a place and space where people can inspire positive thinking, engage in educational growth and the sustainment of wellbeing. Considerable research suggests that the promotion of wellbeing, is a core role of schools and teachers are in a prime position to recognise changes indicative of wellbeing concerns.

The quality of life or wellbeing of an individual or community is a function of the actual conditions of that life and what an individual or community makes of those conditions. What a person or community makes of those conditions is in turn a function of how the conditions are perceived, what is thought and felt about those conditions, what is done and, finally, what consequences follow from all these inputs. People’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings and actions, then, have an impact on their own and others’ living conditions (Michalos, 2007, p.4).

Prior to embarking on this journey of exploring wellbeing within educational contexts, this Chapter will connect with your prior knowledge on wellbeing and explore your own sense of wellbeing.

 

Connecting with your prior knowledge

Connecting and activating pertinent prior knowledge assembles bridges connecting knowledge already integrated into understanding of a topic, and new knowledge, thus enabling learning through the creation of mental hooks that assist to anchor new instructional concepts, processes and skills (Andersen, 2018). Mazano (2004) contends that linking to prior expertise or knowledge in any sphere, increases the quantity of requisite knowledge that is accessible for use when bearing in mind new information, queries, questions or challenges. Further to this Campbell and Campbell (2009) pose that this is the reason some individuals with great expertise are more likely to ponder multiple perspectives of matters, queries, questions or problems and reach additional reasoned answers than novices. Re-examining prior knowledge shapes firm foundations on which to develop new learning experiences, and supports self-worth, reducing feelings of ignorance or general lack of ability, as new stimulating options are created when linkages are made between past ideas and new information (Andersen, 2018). Activating and connecting pertinent prior knowledge is vital in setting the scene.

Activity

  • Let’s connect with your own prior knowledge by considering the topic of this textbook – wellbeing, and specifically wellbeing within educational contexts. Complete the tasks below.
Table 1.1 Connecting with your prior wellbeing knowledge to what you want or need to learn. Adapted from Campbell, L. & Campbell, B. (2009). Mindful learning:101 Proven strategies for student and teacher success, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. p.14

 

Connecting with yourself

Being familiar to your inner signals and values and recognising how your feelings impact on you, contributes towards understanding your own wellbeing, as well as understanding the holistic complex situation that is wellbeing within a wider educational context. As such self-awareness is a key foundation block essential to understanding personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of individuals, teams and the school community (Andersen, 2018). Self-awareness is required for creating trusting relationships and promoting wellbeing. If we don’t know ourselves, it becomes increasing difficult to know, understand and effectively assist someone else.  According to Eurich (2017), self-awareness is “the ability to see ourselves clearly, understand who we are, how other see us, and how we fit into the world” (Eurich, 2017, p.4). Covey (2004) expands this further by explaining self-awareness as the ability to accurately understand and reflect upon one’s own skills, knowledge, feelings, and behaviour, and then enact this insight to identify strengths and to try and mitigate any weaknesses. The notion of self-awareness posed by Goleman (2005), goes beyond just such passive actions, to advocacy for a strong basis in proactive action, where self-informed individuals exercise agency to craft intentional and informed decisions and choices monitoring and controlling their thoughts and subliminal biases. Eurich (2013), explains that this proactive active action involves two different forms of self-awareness:

  1. Internal self-awareness – knowing and understanding yourself (Eurich, 2017).
  2. External self-awareness – knowing how other people perceive you and perceiving yourself accurately from other’s perspectives (Eurich, 2017).

An individual’s ability to perceive, identify and manage emotions provides the basis for the types of social and emotional competencies needed for successful personal and professional conversations (Reiss, 2009). The identity of self influences the perspectives of others and can have a powerful impact on one’s efforts to collaboratively work with others and support, enhance, and promote their wellbeing. It is therefore important to ask yourself who you are and understand how you can and will engage with others in a caring professional and educative manner.  It through knowing yourself and being aware of what is important to you (i.e., your values, and beliefs), that you can behave authentically when engaging with others in both personal and professional relationships (Andersen, 2018).

Understanding the wellbeing of others in the first instance often commences with an understanding yourself.

Key Questions

  • How would you rate your own wellbeing? Is this accurate? What evidence do you use to validate this? Would others see you the same way?
  • What are your core values? How are they aligned / or not aligned to your context’s core values? How does this impact / or not impact on your wellbeing?
  • What do you stand for? What principles guide you? How do they impact / or not impact on your wellbeing?

Activity

  • Rochat’s (2003) extensive study on the development of self-awareness offers one way of conceptualising levels of self-awareness, and how self-awareness develops over time as a result of life experiences (see Table 1.2). Where would you place your level of self-awareness? What evidence do you have to support the level you have identified? How accurate is your judgement? How could you validate your judgement?
Table 1.2 Rochat’s 5 Levels of Self-awareness. Adapted from Rochat, P. (2003). Five levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life. Consciousness & Cognition (12), 707-731. Pp1-3. Retrieved from www.sciencedirect.com

We acknowledge that a journey in self-discovery can at times be challenging, an understanding of self creates deeper authenticity in professional relationships and wellbeing conversations by developing more complex internal mechanisms for knowing when and how to engage with other people. The understanding of self is not a “one off” epiphany or process. It is a life-long learning journey that involves hard work, takes considerable practice, may be emotionally painful at times when a person recognises and acknowledges their strengths and weaknesses, takes time to master but most importantly it is worthwhile work. You may find that you may need to utilise the learning activities above many times as you grow as a learner.

 

This text

This text focuses on wellbeing in educational contexts as educational contexts play a pivotal role in teaching students about nonviolence, promoting understanding of diversity, endowing people with a shared purpose and meaning and the skills and behaviours to create a more inclusive, healthy, and positive future (Niemi, Lavonen, Kallioniemi, & Toom, 2018). Weare (2013) affirms the words of Maslow (1970), averring that there is significantly important to satisfy an individual’s social emotional needs before concentrating on the academic needs. The Queensland Department of Education and Training {DET} (2018) reiterates the importance of catering for an individual’s needs, posing that students learn best in environments where their social, emotional and physical wellbeing is nurtured. So how do we do this?

To generate  real educational context community purpose there needs to be a shared understanding of purpose, a clear vision and a common language around established ways of working that positively contribute to building a safe, inclusive culture where wellbeing is fore-fronted. At the start of each chapter we posed guiding questions for you to consider. In chapter one we outline a possible way of meaning making using the text; chapter two  explores some theoretical conceptualisations of wellbeing (guiding question: what is wellbeing?); chapter three presents policy, frameworks and legislation that has informed the focus on wellbeing (guiding question: how is wellbeing enacted?); chapter four outlines possible impactors and enablers to wellbeing (guiding question: how is wellbeing enhanced?); chapter five explores embedding an education wide focus on wellbeing (guiding question: how is wellbeing enacted and embedded?) and the final chapter, chapter six, explores the ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing in relation to a workplace wellbeing framework (guiding question: how can wellbeing be enacted and promoted in my context?).

We hope that you love learning with us and we invite you to contact us in the hope of co-constructing knowledge and understandings that are helpful in educational contexts.

 

References

Andersen, C. (2018). EDU8400. Coaching and mentoring in educational contexts: Course notes. Toowoomba, Australia: University of Southern Queensland.

Campbell, L. & Campbell, B. (2009). Mindful learning:101 Proven strategies for student and teacher success, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Covey, S.R. (2004). The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. New York, NY: Free Press.

Department of Education and Training. (DET). (2018). Health and wellbeing. Retrieved from http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/healthy/

Eurich, T. (2013). Bankable leadership: Happy people, bottom-line results, and the power to deliver both. Austin Texas, TX: Green Leaf Book Press.

Eurich, T. (2017). Insight: The power of self-awareness in a self-deluded world. London, UK: Pan Books.

Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional intelligence. New York, NY: Random House.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Mazano, R. (2007) The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association of Superiors and Curriculum Development.

Michalos, A.C (2007). Education, happiness and wellbeing. Paper presented at the International Conference on ‘Is happiness measurable and what do those measures mean for public policy?’, Rome, Italy.

Niemi, H., Lavonen, J., Kallioniemi, A., & Toom, A. (2018). The role of teachers in the Finnish educational system. In The teacher’s role in the changing globalizing world: Resources and challenges related to the professional work of teaching (pp. 47-61). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Sense. Retrieved from https://brill.com/abstract/book/edcoll/9789004372573/BP000008.xml

Reiss, K. (2009). Leadership coaching for educators. Cheltenham, VIC: Hawker Brownlow Education.

Rochat, P. (2003). Five levels of self-awareness as they unfold early in life. Consciousness & Cognition, (12), 707-731.

Weare, K. (2013). Promoting mental, emotional and social health: A whole school approach. London, UK: Routledge.

 

 

2

Theoretical Conceptualisations of Wellbeing

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Key Concepts:
  • There is a lack of consensus in the literature as to exactly what wellbeing is, as well as an array of wellbeing models.
  • The challenge is for educational contexts to clearly define wellbeing and select or develop a model of the concept before trying to implement wellbeing programs.

Guiding question:

What is wellbeing?

Figure 2.1 Photograph by Daniel Minárik on unsplash.

Introduction

Wellbeing is now a concept at the core of many educational policy agendas and practices. Increasing attention is focussed on both student and staff mental and emotional wellbeing initiatives and polices, in order to equip individuals with the social and emotional skills, knowledge and the disposition required to operate and contribute productively within both an educational setting and the broader societal context. This Chapter will explore the following questions: What does the concept of wellbeing mean? Does the term wellbeing have the same meaning for all individuals and groups within a school? Does the concept of wellbeing hold constant across time and events despite the diversity of experiences, culture, beliefs and values evident within educational contexts? What foundational approaches and models inform wellbeing educational initiatives? And what is the role of education in the wellbeing of student and staff? In exploring the above questions, the theoretical concept of wellbeing will be explored by examining definitions of wellbeing, wellness and mental health; investigating theoretical conceptualisations of wellbeing; and by exploring subjective wellbeing as an approach to fostering wellbeing an examining the place of wellbeing in educational contexts.

What is wellbeing?

The seeking of a definition for wellbeing is a complex pursuit, as increasingly it is utilised in conversations, on the community and global media, and within the literature, in many different ways, with wellbeing seemingly taking shape as a chameleon (Carter, 2016). Originally there appeared two specific schools of thought where wellbeing was seen either as hedonic or eudemonic.

From a hedonic view, focusing on happiness as the totality of pleasurable moments. Philosophers such as Hobbes viewed wellbeing as “a pursuit of human appetites”, DeSade held that it was the “pursuit of sensations and pleasure” and Bentham claimed that “through maximising pleasure and self-interest that the good society is built” (Husain, 2008). Other philosophers held a somewhat different view, deeming that people experience happiness in the expression of their virtues, engaged in what they believe is worth doing (Carter, 2016). This notion of eudemonia – being true to one’s inner self can be equated with an eudemonic perspective of wellbeing. Building upon the eudemonic view of wellbeing is Maslow’s (1970) concept of self- actualization and Deci and Ryan’s (2000) self-determination theory. An individual’s or community’s quality of life is a direct function of the conditions that arise in life, and how an individual or community utilises the conditions that life presents. How an individual or community perceives the condition, thinks and feels about those conditions, what is done and, ultimately, what consequences follow from all these inputs in turn becomes a function of how the conditions are perceived. People’s perceptions, their feelings, their thoughts, and their actions, then, have a direct impact on their own and others’ living conditions (Michalos, 2007).

McCallum and Price (2016) argue that wellbeing has emerged as “something everyone seemingly aims for, and arguably has a right to” (McCallum & Price, 2016, p.2). While wellbeing is not a new concept, it has become an important concept within contemporary school community contexts. However, identifying an agreed definition of wellbeing, in addition to establishing a consensus on how quality wellbeing can be achieved and sustained, is far more problematic with the term wellbeing often poorly defined and under-theorised (Camfield, Streuli & Woodhead, 2009). To compound the issue of definition inconsistency, wellbeing is often used interchangeably with other terms such as ‘happiness’, ‘flourishing’, ‘enjoying a good life’ and ‘life satisfaction’, all which have very different interpretations and underlying meanings.

Bradburn (1969) (as cited in Dodge, Daly, Huyton & Saunders, 2012) defined wellbeing as being present when an individual is high in psychological wellbeing, where an excess of positivity (positive affect) predominates over negative affect. In contrast, Shah and Marks (2004) argued that wellbeing is more than just positive affect (happiness, feeling satisfied), with feeling fulfilled and developing as a person an equally important aspect in defining wellbeing. Diener et al. (1999) extend the definition of wellbeing even further by defining wellbeing as subjective (thus the term subjective wellbeing, {SWB}) more specifically as consisting of three essential interrelated components: life satisfaction, pleasant affect, and unpleasant affect.

The characteristic intensity with which people perceive their affective states, has no bearing on overall subjective well-being (Larsen, Diener & Emmons, 1985). It seems that the predominant predictor of overall SWB is the rate of positive compared to negative states in a person’s life, throughout time (Larsen, Diener, & Emmons, 1985). “Because subjective well-being refers to affective experiences and cognitive judgments, self-report measures of subjective wellbeing are indispensable” (Larsen & Eid, 2008, p. 4).

Together with his associates Ed Diener designed the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985), which developed into the standard measure of life satisfaction in the wellbeing field. The implications concerning the measurement of SWB are that:

  1. SWB can be assessed by self-report with significant consistency and authority (Larsen & Eid, 2008).
  2. Each measurement method has drawbacks and benefits (Larsen & Eid, 2008).
  3. Comprehensive assessment of SWB necessitates a multimethod assessment tool (Diener, 2009; Diener & Eid, 2006).

 

Diener (2006) suggested that people over emphasise their emotional intensity and underestimate and underrate the frequency of their positive affect when recollecting emotional moments. This research signifies that there is no single cause of SWB. It seems apparent then, that certain conditions appear to be essential for high SWB {e.g., mental health, positive social relationships}, but are not singularly sufficient to cause happiness (Diener, 2006). Diener’s work has detected a number of circumstances that seem to be required for, or correlated with happiness, however no one condition or characteristic is adequate to ensure happiness in itself (Larsen & Eid, 2008).

It should be noted that there is evidence that diverse circumstances and outcomes make people happy. Diener and colleagues have shown that the links to happiness alter between young versus old people (Diene, 2000). So what makes a younger person happy may not make an older person happy. Likewise, Diener, Suh, Smith, and Shao (1995) reported that there are different connections to happiness in differing cultures. Diener (2000) has suggested that that there are likely universals, such as experiencing close positive social relationships that are associated with happiness by almost everyone.  To use an analogy:

some ingredients are essential, others are merely helpful or add a particular flavour or texture to the outcome. But there is no single key ingredient that, by itself, produces the outcome; instead one needs to have multiple ingredients put together in the right way. (Larsen & Eid, 2008, p.8)

SWB appears to contribute to beneficial outcomes in life. Diener (2000), along with his colleagues has determined that happy people are more creative and sociable; have increased likelihood of longevity; display generally sturdier immune systems; earn more money; are good leaders; and display generally better citizenship in their workplace. Furthermore, numerous positive outcomes were linked to happiness, such as marital satisfaction, job satisfaction, and improved coping. Therefore, high SWB is particularly desirable at individual, at educational system levels, and at societal levels. It therefore makes sense to invest in promoting a culture in educational contexts where wellbeing is important. This text will aim to explore, how educational contexts can create a culture where SWB is valued, and high levels of SWB are desired as outcomes, planned for and hopefully achieved.

McCallum and Price (2016) propose an even more encompassing definition of wellbeing by defining it as being “diverse and fluid respecting individual, family and community beliefs, values, experiences, culture, opportunities and contexts across time and change … and encompassing intertwined individual, collective and environmental elements which continually interact across the lifespan” (McCallum & Price, 2016, p.4). Despite a range of notions encompassed in wellbeing definitions, wellbeing can then be described in very broad terms as a holistic, balanced life experience where, wellbeing needs to be considered in relation to how an individual feels and functions across several areas, including cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Key Questions

  •  How does your context define wellbeing?
  • How do these definitions align or not align with you own definition of wellbeing and why?

 

What is wellness?

The term wellness is often used interchangeably with the term wellbeing (McCallum & Price, 2016).  However, Roscoe (2009) argues that wellness is not the same as wellbeing, and instead contributes to it, as wellness is the sum of the positive steps taken to achieve wellbeing.

Key Question

  •   Do you agree with Roscoe’s statement and why / why not ?

The term wellness was first introduced by Dunn (1959) (as cited in Kirkland, 2014), who argued that health was much more than the absence of disease, and remains the cornerstone of today’s concept of wellness. Dunn defined wellness in terms of the integration of the whole person – the body, mind and spirit, with wellness described as different spiritual, cognitive, emotional, environmental and physical aspects (refer to Figure 2.2), all of which combine to form wellness (Albrecht, 2014).

Figure 2.2  Unknown author, (u.d.). Eight Dimensions of Wellness . Adapted from Dunn’s Wheel of Wellness, Albrecht, N. (2014). Wellness: A conceptual framework for school-based mindfulness programs. The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society, 4(1), 21-36, p. 26.

 

Roscoe (2009) identified the above  core principles of wellness, depicted in Figure 2.2:

  1. Wellness is dynamic, and changing and evident on many levels.
  2. A range of factors work in combination to form wellness.
  3. Wellness emerges from the integrative and dynamic whole rather than from the sum of its parts.
  4. Environmental contexts impact wellness.
  5. Life-span developmental changes affect wellness.
  6. Awareness, education and growth are central to the paradigm of wellness.

Key Questions

  •   How are definitions of wellness different to, or the same as definitions of wellbeing?  
  • Where and how does wellness fit into the conceptualisation of wellbeing?

 

What is mental health?

A similar lack of consensus is also evident when defining mental health. Bhugra, Till and Sartorius (2013) describe mental health as an integral and essential part of overall health which can be defined in at least three ways including: the absence of disease; a balance within oneself and balance between oneself and one’s physical and social environment;  and finally a state of being that allows for the full performance of all its mental and physical functions (Bhurga, Dill & Satorius, 2013). Watson, Emery, Bayliss, Boushel & McInnes, 2012) similarly define mental health as a state of being that also includes the biological, psychological or social factors which contribute to an individual’s mental state and ability to function within the environment. The World Health Organisation {WHO} (2007) extends the definition of mental health further to include realising one’s potential; the ability to cope with normal life stresses; and community contributions as core components of mental health. Other definitions also extend beyond this to include intellectual, emotional and spiritual development, positive self-perception, feelings of self-worth and physical health, and intrapersonal harmony as key aspects in defining metal mental (Bhurga et al., 2013).

Key Question

  •   View Figure 2.3 and consider, how does mental health fit into the conceptualisation of wellbeing?
Figure 2.3 Photograph by Martin Adams on unsplash

Theoretical conceptualisations of wellbeing

While many theoretical constructs of wellbeing exist, two conceptual approaches to wellbeing research now tend to dominate the field of research and discussion.Objective wellbeing theories tend to define wellbeing in terms of objective, external and universal notions of quality of life indicators  such as social attributes {health, education, social networks and connections} and material resources {income, food and housing} (Watson et al., 2012). Objective theories of wellbeing largely arise from Amartya Sen’s work in welfare economics, and tend to focus on agreed core human capabilities necessary for quality life such as body health and integrity; the ability to think and imagine; the ability to express emotions; the ability to exercise practical reasoning and autonomy in contributing to one’s own education, work and political and social participation (Bourke & Geldens, 2007).

In contrast, subjective theories of wellbeing are focused on subjective overall life evaluations, and comprise two main components – affect {feelings, emotions and mood} and life satisfaction, which is identified as a distinct construct and defined relative to specific domains in life {such as school, work and family} (Diener & Ryan, 2009). Affect is dived further into positive and negative emotions, with subjective wellbeing experienced when a predominance of positive emotions occurs more than negative emotions (Diener et al., 1999). As people and perceptions are at the heart of the meaning of subjective wellbeing, Watson et al. (2012) argue that subjective wellbeing has direct utility in describing and facilitating staff and student  social and emotional wellbeing. The following contemporary models of wellbeing outline frameworks for exploring wellbeing.

Tripartite Model of Subjective Wellbeing

Diener and Ryan’s (2009) Tripartite Model of Subjective Wellbeing (refer to Figure 2.4) presents wellbeing as a general evaluation of an individual’s quality of life in terms of three key components:

  1. Life satisfaction, which is composed of: Imperfect assessment of the balance between positive and negative affect in one’s life. An assessment of how well one’s life measures up to aspirations and goals;
  2. Positive affect (pleasurable feelings); and
  3. Negative affect (painful feelings).
Figure 2.4 Tripartite Model of Subjective Wellbeing. Adapted from Galiha, I.C. & Pais-Riberiro (2011). Cognitive, affective and contextual predictors of subjective wellbeing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 2(1), 34-53, p.38.

Figure 2.4, a Tripartite Model of Subjective Wellbeing  is a representation of the relationship between SWB and cognitive, affective and cultural variables.

 

Seligman’s PERMA Wellbeing Model

Seligman’s (2011) PERMA model (refer to Figure 2.5) proposes that wellbeing has several measurable elements, each contributing to wellbeing. The PERMA model identifies five essential elements to wellbeing:

  1. Positive emotions include a wide range of feelings, not just happiness and joy {P}.
  2. Engagement refers to involvement in activities that draws and builds upon one’s interests {E}.
  3. Positive Relationships are all important in promoting positive emotions, whether they are work-related, school related, familial, romantic, or platonic {R}.
  4. Meaning also known as purpose, and prompts the question of “why” {M}.
  5. Achievement / accomplishment are the pursuit of success and mastery {A}.

 

McCallum and Price’s Model of Holistic Wellbeing

McCallum and Price (2016) outlined a model of holistic wellbeing  where the student is central. They suggest that the model captures the interplay between learner wellbeing, educator wellbeing, and community wellbeing. Six key principles are identified together with six key strategies as the means of enactment in nurturing wellbeing in education.

  1. Positive relationships – building and sustaining healthy relationships.

  2. Positive strengths – developing and nurturing individual and group strengths.

  3. Positive communication – establishing effective and safe communication strategies.

  4. Positive behaviour – behaving in a way that welcomes a sense of belonging and connections to others and positive, peaceful and caring action.

  5. Positive emotion – nurturing emotional health.

  6. Positive leadership – scaffolding wellbeing through growing leaders with a democratic leadership style.

(McCallum & Price, 2016, p. 144).

School community wellbeing

Educational contexts are now key stakeholders in promoting student and staff wellbeing, regardless of the diversity of wellbeing definitions and approaches. McCallum and Price (2016) argue that given the link between wellbeing and academic achievement, educators, policy and curriculum developers, it is no surprise that educational contexts are being increasingly challenged to centre wellbeing as both a foundation to, and integral part of learning. As a result, an increasing an emphasis is now being placed on producing successful and confident learners, resulting in a more holistic approach to education in order to support both academic achievement and wellbeing of students. McCallum and Price (2016) also suggest that wellbeing education is for the whole community and have proposed a Wellbeing education model  which supports that notion by suggesting that wellbeing education is an essential provider to academic learning and achievement (McCallum & Price, 2016). We believe that wellbeing education goes beyond this and is essential to the creation of social hope and social capital.

Figure 2.5 Photograph of a person by Warren Wong on unsplash

 

Supportive educational environments must now promote the wellbeing of learners by assisting them to develop a positive sense of identity, agency, self-worth and connectedness within their community. Learners, educators, communities and educational institutions hold responsibility in this regard. Scoffham and Barnes (2011) noted that the challenge for today’s educators is to provide a place as well as programs that are both secure and demanding, and based upon pedagogy that furthers the present and future wellbeing and happiness of the children and young people within positive social and environmental change contexts.

 

Key Questions

  • Has your definition of wellbeing changed or not changed and if so why and how?
  • What factors influence your wellbeing definition?

 

Conclusion

Despite the range of notions encompassed in wellbeing definitions explored throughout this chapter, we believe that wellbeing is experienced differently by different people. We embrace Diener’s (2009) definition that wellbeing consists of three elements that involve the cognitive evaluation of overall satisfaction with life; positive affect; and lower levels of negative affect. Wellbeing can be viewed holistically, in terms of balanced life experience where, wellbeing needs to be considered in relation to how an individual feels and functions across several areas, including cognitive, emotional, social, physical and spiritual wellbeing. As authors we hope that readers are challenged to deeply ponder how they define wellbeing. As educational contexts are now key stakeholders in promoting children, young people and staff wellbeing, it is no surprise that  educational communities are being increasingly challenged to centre wellbeing as both a foundation to, and integral part of  an educational context’s structures, processes and learning. The challenge for educational contexts then is to clearly define wellbeing; select or develop a model of wellbeing that promotes the wellbeing of students (children / young people) and staff; and develop a positive sense of identity, agency, self-worth and connectedness.

 

 References                                                                   

Albrecht, N. (2014). Wellness. The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society,

       4 (1), 21-36.

Bourke, L. & Geldens, L. M, (2007). Subjective wellbeing and its meaning for young people in

       a rural Australian centre. Social Indicators Research, 82 (1), 165-187.

Bhugra, D., Dill, A. & Sartorius, N. (2013). What is mental health? International Journal of

       Social Psychiatry, 59 (1), 3-4. doi:10.1177/002076401246331

Camfield, L., Streuli, N. & Woodhead, M. (2009). What’s the use of ‘well-being’ in contexts of

     child poverty? Approaches to research, monitoring and children’s participation. The

     International Journal of Children’s Rights, 17, 65-109.

Carter, S. (2016). Holding it together: an explanatory framework for maintaining subjective well-being (SWB) in principals. [Thesis (PhD/Research)].

Deci, E.L. & Ryan, R.M. (2000). ‘The ‘‘what’’ and ‘‘why’’ of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behaviour’. Psychological Inquiry 11, 227–268.

Diener, E. (2000). SWB: The science of happiness, and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55, 34-43. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.34

Diener, E. (2009). Assessing well-being: The collected works of Ed Diener. Social Indicators Research Series, 39. New York, NY: Springer.

Diener, E., & Eid, M. (2006). The finale: Take-home messages from the editors. In M. Eid & E. Diener (Eds.). Handbook of multi-method measurement in psychology. (pp. 457-463). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Denier, E. & Ryan, K. (2009) Subjective wellbeing: A general overview. South African Journal of Psychology, 39(4), 391 – 406.

Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75.

Diener, E., Suh, M., Lucas, E., & Smith, H. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of

       progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125 (2), 276–302. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.125.2.276

Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Smith, H., & Shao, L. (1995). National differences in reported subjective well-being: Why do they occur? Social Indicators Research Special Issue: Global Report on Student Well-Being, 34, 7–32.

Dodge, R., Daly, A., Huyton, J., & Sanders, L. (2012). The challenge of defining wellbeing.

       International Journal of Wellbeing, 2 (3), 222-235. doi:10.5502/ijw.v2i3.4

Husain, A. (2008). Horizons of Spiritual Psychology. New Delhi: Global Vision Publishing House.

Kirkland, A. (2014). What is wellness now? Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law, 39 (5),

       957-970.

Larsen, R. J., Diener, E., & Emmons, R. A. (1985). An evaluation of subjective well-being measures. Social Indicators Research, 17, 1–18.

Larsen, R. J. & Eid, M. (2008). Ed Diener and the Science of SWB. In M. Eid &. R. J. Larsen (Eds.), The science of SWB. New York, NY: Guilford.

Maslow, A, H. (1970). Motivation and personality (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Harper & Row.

McCallum, F. & Price, D. (Eds.) (2016). Nurturing wellbeing development in education: From

       little things, big things grow. New York, N.Y: Routledge.

Michalos, A.C (2007). Education, happiness and wellbeing. Paper presented at the

       International Conference on ‘Is happiness measurable and what do those measures

        mean for public policy?’, Rome, Italy.

Roscoe, L.J. (2009). Wellness: A review of theory and measurement for counsellors. Journal of Counselling & Development. 87 (2), 216-226.

Scoffham, S. & Barnes, J. (2011) Happiness matters: towards a pedagogy of happiness and wellbeing. Curriculum Journal, 22 (4), 535-548. doi: 10.1080/09585176.2011.627214

Shah, H., & Marks, N. (2004). A well-being manifesto for a flourishing society. London, UK:

        The New Economics Foundation.

Sigleman, M. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and wellbeing. New York, NY: Free Press.

Watson, D., Emery, C., Bayliss, P., Boushel, M. & McInnes, K. (2012). Children’s social and

       emotional wellbeing in schools: A critical perspective. Bristol, UK: The Policy press.

World Health Organisation {WHO}. (2007). The international classification of functioning, disability and health children and youth (ICF-CY). World Health Organization, Geneva.

 

 

3

Policy, Frameworks and Legislation Informing a Focus on Wellbeing

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Key Concept

  • Policy, frameworks and legislation are complex and open to multiple interpretations which make enactment problematic.

Guiding questions:

 

Figure 3.1 Photograph of text by Leonardo Bugos on unsplash

Introduction

National and state policy reports have indicated that many Australian students, teachers and leaders are experiencing difficulty maintaining their wellbeing. As educational contexts (e.g., schools, special education units and early childhood centres) represent a major component of Australia’s society and economy, it is no surprise then that national and international concern regarding the social and emotional wellbeing of children, young people and educators has now become a major focus in a wide range of international and Australian policy initiatives. As a consequence, interest has increased in the role educational contexts and educators play in promoting student wellbeing, and the interface that occurs between policy and practice when implementing wellbeing programs in schools. This Chapter explores Australian and international legislation, policy, and frameworks which inform a focus on wellbeing.

Activity

 Before we examine policy, framework and legislation that informs a focus on wellbeing, how would you define each of the preceding terms?

Consider how the literature defines policy, framework and legislation, alongside the understandings you have of the concepts. Bacchi (2000) defined the term policy as a “discourse of ideas or plans that form the basis for making decisions to accomplish goals that are deemed worthwhile” (p.46). Cochran and Malone (2010) described policy in terms of the actions of government, and the intentions that determine those actions. Birkland (2016) espoused that the term policy referred to a plan of what to  do, that has been agreed to officially, by either a group of people, an organisation or a government, in order to achieve a set of goals. In contrast, the term framework has been conceptualised in a number of different ways. Coburn and Turner (2011) described a framework as an abstract, logical structure of meaning that guides action, and includes identification of key concepts, and the relationships between those concepts. On the other hand, Garrison (2011) considered a framework to be a set of beliefs, rules or ideas that outline what actions can be undertaken. White (2010) presented an alternate viewpoint, that a wellbeing framework is “a social process with material, relational, and subjective dimensions” (p.158), that can be assessed at individual and collective levels, with relationships at the centre. Compared to above, the term legislation is more simply defined as all Bill and Acts passed and subordinate legislation made by government.

Key Questions

  •   Consider how wellbeing is represented in your own context’s policies and curriculum.
  •  How effectively is this applied?

 

Legislation informing a focus on wellbeing

McCallum and Price (2016) argue that at local, national and international levels, all children and young people have the right to an education that supports their wellbeing and development. As a consequence, improving the wellbeing and developmental outcomes of Australia’s children have become a key priority for Australian governments (Kyriacou, 2012). We will now explore legislation that impacts on the notion of wellbeing for children, young people and educational contexts (e.g., schools, special education units and early childhood centres).

 

Australian legislation

There are two key pieces of international legislation: Education and Child Protection Acts; and Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986.

 

Education and Child Protection Acts

The most significant pieces of guiding legislation for educational contexts across Australia are jurisdictional   Education (General Provisions) Acts, which set out the conditions and requirements for the provision of education, and Child Protection Acts which set out protection for children and young people. However, while wellbeing is not referred to specifically in these acts, there is an underlying principle that guides both legislation and any subsequent policy on education, children and young people that falls out from legislation. The principle that governments must operate in “best interests of the child” is evident across all jurisdictions (Powell & Graham, 2017). (Your jurisdiction’s Education and Child Protection Acts can be located by searching for the relevant Act from your jurisdiction).

 

Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986

The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986, overseen by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission {HREOC}, plays a role in protecting and promoting the rights of children and young people within Australia. While the Act does not specifically promote wellbeing, it does refer to the right to an education and also provides policy and recourses to specifically to support the prevention of bullying, harassment and racism.

Activity

  •  Consider how this legislation may or may not link to the definitions of wellbeing identified in Chapter 2 and why.

 

International legislation

There are three key pieces of international legislation that have influenced the Australian landscape: the Convention on the Rights of the Child, United Kingdom Children’s Act 2004; and No Child Left Behind Act 2001.

 

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

The International Year of the Child (1979) brought commitment by national and international governments and organisations to extend human rights to children. As a consequence, the United Nations United General Assembly {UNGA} (1989) Convention on the Rights of the Child {CRC} (1989) was developed. The CRC emphasized the civil and political rights of individual children as well as economic, social, and cultural rights; the right to be raised in peace; and the right to dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity (UNGA, 1989). As Australia is a signatory to the CRC many of the principles within the Convention are embedded within legislation, policy and frameworks pertaining to children and young people.

 

United Kingdom Children’s Act 2004

The United Kingdom Government {UKG} Children’s Act 2004 was specifically designed to care and support children, with many of the principles from the Convention on the Rights of the Child embedded within this legislation. Part 2, Section 10 refers specifically to wellbeing and identifies six guiding principles: allow children to be healthy; allow children to remain safe in their environments; help children to enjoy life; assist children in their quest to succeed; to make a positive contribution to the lives of children; and to achieve economic stability for children’s futures (UKG, 2004).

 

No Child Left Behind Act 2001

In the United States of America {USA}, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2001) focusses on the premise that setting high standards and establishing measurable goals can improve individual outcomes in education and the quality of lives of children and young people. While not specifying wellbeing development, the main goal of this Act is to close the achievement gap that separates disadvantaged children and young people and their peers. Waters (2017) argues that while closing the gap in educational attainment and opportunity may enhance wellbeing, much debate exists as to whether this Act contributes to or hinders the wellbeing of children and young people.

Activity

We suggest that you access both acts and consider the wording in each, and the implications of enactment.

  •  Compare and contrast the notion of wellbeing in the UKG Children’s Act 2004 and the USA No Child Left Behind 2001 legislation.
  •  Critique how wellbeing is defined or not  defined within these documents.
  •  Critique  the  intentions of the above  legislation.

 

Policy informing a focus on wellbeing

Powell and Graham (2017) note that the increasing focus on the social and emotional wellbeing of children and young people in Australia has attracted considerable community and political interest, with educational contexts now taking a key role in supporting and promoting the wellbeing of students. Waters (2017) argues that such interest has created a rapidly changing landscape of education governance within Australia, where responsibility shifts between state and Commonwealth governments, which in turn contributes to a broad and diffuse policy environment. The rising interest wellbeing has been guided by a number of key policy initiatives and approaches that have been put forward over the past decade.

 

Australian policy

There are two key pieces of influential Australian policy: the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, and the National Mental Health Policy.

 

Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs {MCEETYA},2008) identified major world issues impacting on Australian schools including high levels of  international mobility, ever-increasing globalisation and technological change, in conjunction with increased environmental, social and economic pressures and the ongoing acceleration of advances in information communication technologies, which together are placing greater demands on, and as well as providing greater opportunities for young people.

 

National Mental Health Policy

The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (Council of Australian Governments Health Council {COAG}, 2017) outlines priorities to achieve the National Mental Health Policy {NMHP}. This plan also specifically outlines an agreed set of actions to address social and emotional wellbeing, mental illness and suicide as a priority, as well elevate the importance of addressing the needs of people who live with mental illness, and reducing the stigma and discrimination that accompanies mental illness.

For further detailed information, we suggest that you access both policies.

Activity

  • Compare and contrast the notion of wellbeing in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) and the NMHP.
  • Critique how wellbeing is implicitly or explicitly defined in each policy, and how well definitions  align with notions of wellbeing discussed in Chapter 2.
  • Critique the intentions of the documents, and how well they align with notions of wellbeing discussed in Chapter 2.  
  • Document and consider how elements of each policy could be in tension with each other, or with practice and programs in educational contexts .

 

International policy

There are two main pieces of international policy that have been influential in  Australian landscape: Every Child Matters Policy United Kingdom; and the World Health Organization Mental Health Action Plan for 2013-2020.

 

Every Child Matters Policy United Kingdom

Every Child Matters policy {ECM} (Government of the United Kingdom {GUK}, 2003) recognised 5 positive outcomes as being essential to children and young people’s wellbeing including: being healthy, happy and safe; developing skills for adulthood in order to get the most out of life; to make a positive contribution in life;  being involved with the community and society and not engaging offending or anti-social behaviour and lastly experiencing economic wellbeing and full life potential.

It is worth noting that while there has been an increase in international wellbeing policy, there is still no universal definition or agreement as to what wellbeing is. Copestake’s (2008) study of international wellbeing policy identified contrasting views of wellbeing evident across many international policies. In many cases policies were based on very different contrasting assumptions about what the definition of wellbeing was, and how it could be achieved. Similarly, Spratt (2016) argued that within Scottish wellbeing policy “different professional discourses of wellbeing have migrated into education policy” (p. 223), which have resulted in differing views of wellbeing being represented.

 

World Health Organization Mental Health Action Plan for 2013-2020

Student wellbeing has become a focus of international education policy for global organisations such as the World Health Organization {WHO}. The WHO identifies mental wellbeing as a fundamental component of good health and wellbeing. The WHO Mental Health Action Plan for 2013-2020 (WHO, 2013) is a comprehensive action plan that recognises the essential role of mental health in achieving health and wellbeing for all people. 

 

Activity

  •  Examine the policies in your education system and compare and contrast the notion of wellbeing in each policy/ program / document.
  •  Critique how wellbeing is implicitly or explicitly defined in each policy, and how well definitions  align with notions of wellbeing discussed in Chapter 2.
  •  Use the following template and consider elements of each policy that could be in tension with each other or with practice and programs in educational contexts.
    Table 3.1 Elements of policy in tension

 

 

Frameworks informing a focus on wellbeing

Clarke, Sixsmith and Barry (2014) note that long-term benefits, such as improvement in social and emotional learning, increased social emotional functioning and improved academic performance are achieved for children and young people when wellbeing programs are implemented effectively. The following frameworks promote wellbeing as an intended key action.

Australian frameworks

Several Australian frameworks have promoted wellbeing as an intended outcome: National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2024; National Safe Schools Framework; Australian Student Wellbeing Framework; Learner Wellbeing Framework for Birth to Year 12; the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools 2005; the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing.

 

National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2024

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children {NFPAC}2009-2020 (Council of Australian Governments {COAG}, 2009) policy has a strong focus on protecting children and young people from abuse and neglect, with wellbeing highlighted as a key action.

 

The National Safe Schools Framework

The National Safe Schools Framework {NSSF} (Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs {MCEEDYA} (2011) provides Australian educational contexts with a set of guiding principles that assist school communities to develop positive and practical student safety and wellbeing policies (Australian Government Department of Education and Training {AGDET}, 2018). The NSSF is collaborative effort by the Commonwealth and State and Territory government and non-government educational context authorities and other key stakeholders. It places an emphasis on creating a safe and supportive educational context environment that promotes student wellbeing and effective learning, by addressing issues of bullying, violence, harassment, child abuse and neglect.

McCallum and Price (2016) also contended that the 2014 revision also provides Australian educational contexts with clear vision as well as a set of guiding principles that will enables educational contexts to develop contextually based positive and practical student safety and wellbeing policies, in addition to a number of practical tools and resources that will assist in the facilitation of positive school culture.The guiding profiles embedded within the NSSF forefront the valuing of diversity; the positive contribution of the whole educational community to the safety and wellbeing of themselves and others; the need to act independently, justly, cooperatively and responsibly in school, work, civic and family relationships; and the provision of appropriate strategies in order to create and maintain a safe and supportive learning environment (MCEEDYA, 2011).

 

Australian Student Wellbeing Framework

The Ministers of Education Council {MEC} (2018) Australian Student Wellbeing Framework   provides Australian educational contexts with a vision and a set of guiding principles to support the context’s communities to build positive learning environments, safety and wellbeing policies and support requirements within each educational context . The following five areas were identified as key elements essential to the development, implementation and maintenance of positive learning environments and safety and wellbeing policies:

  1. Leadership: Principals and school leaders play are an active role in constructing positive learning environments that are inclusive of the whole educational community, and where all educational community members feel included connected, safe and respected. Leadership needs to be visible and obvious to all members of the whole educational community.
  2. Inclusion: All members of an educational context’s community need to be included and connected to an educational context’s culture as well as being active participants in building a welcoming culture that values, diversity and promotes positive, respectful relationships.
  3. Student Voice: Students are key stakeholders within educational communities and as such are active participants in cultivating in their own learning and wellbeing, feeling connected and using their social and emotional skills to be respectful, resilient and safe.
  4. Partnerships: Support for student learning, safety and wellbeing requires effective school, family and community collaboration and partnerships.
  5. Support: Provision of wellbeing and support for positive behaviour for staff within an educational context, for students and for families by cultivating an understanding of wellbeing through the dissemination of information on wellbeing, cultivation a culture of wellbeing as well as support for positive behaviour and how this supports effective teaching and learning (Ministers of Education Council, 2018).

 

Learner Wellbeing Framework for Birth to Year 12

The former South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services {SADECS} developed a Learner Wellbeing Framework {LWF} 2005-2010, that targeted all children and young people in South Australian educational sites and schools from birth to Year 12 (SADECS, 2007). Albrecht (2014) argues that as few learner wellbeing frameworks exist, this is a good example that can be applied national and internationally, as the LWF promotes wellbeing for all learners, by identifying wellbeing and learner engagement as key directions for educators. McCallum and Price (2016) also identified that the LWF acknowledges the interconnection between wellbeing and learning, and proposes that wellbeing is far more than the absence of problems. Powell and Graham (2017) likewise noted that the LWF acknowledges the complexity of the lives of contemporary learners and recognises the influences of change on today’s learners.

Figure 3.2 DECS Learner Wellbeing Framework. Reproduced from: South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services (2007). Learner Wellbeing Framework, p.4.

 

The LWF supports educators to build and improve effective wellbeing policies and practices, and is aligned to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989).  The LWF supports educators to build and improve effective wellbeing policies and practices, and is aligned to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989). The LWF (Figure 3.2) identifies five dimensions of wellbeing: the emotional dimension; the social dimension; the cognitive dimension; and the physical dimension; and the spiritual dimension, within four domains in an educational context: learning environment; curriculum and pedagogy; partnerships; and lastly policies (SADECS, 2007).

 

 

In considering the above frameworks, a major research study of wellbeing in Australian educational contexts conducted by Graham et al. (2014), identified that within Australian education systems, wellbeing is not clearly defined in policies, yet the term is frequently used in policy vocabularies. Graham et al. (2014) also established that there was little to no national nor state policy specifically targeting the wellbeing of children and young people, and that while many education websites signal an interest in wellbeing, very few provided specific detail other than identification of loosely related elements.

 

National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools 2005

The National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools (MCEETYA, 2005)  is a framework and a set of principles for values education in twenty-first century Australian educational contexts. The framework recognises that there is a significant history of values education in Australian government and non-government educational contexts, which draw on a range of philosophies, beliefs and traditions. It also acknowledges that values education contributes to wellbeing development of children and young people. The framework identifies “guiding principles to support educational contexts in implementing values education; key elements and approaches to implementing values education; and a set of values for Australian schooling” (MCEETYA, 2005, p.1).

In responding to concerns around wellbeing, many educators have explored values-based frameworks. A case study by White and Waters (2015) identified that the use of a strengths-based approach framework contributed to the development of greater virtue, self-efficacy, and wellbeing in both children and young people.

 

National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing

The National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023 (Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council {AHMAC}, (2017) provides a dedicated focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and adult’s social and emotional wellbeing and mental health. This framework endeavors to identify a culturally appropriate framework that guides and supports Indigenous mental health and wellbeing policy and practice.

There is an emerging global recognition of the significance Indigenous peoples’ wellbeing and the inadequacies of conventional socio-economic and demographic data that is used measure relative wellbeing. However, Prout (2012) argued that statistical data used to report on the wellbeing status of Indigenous populations is based on a preconceived set of assumptions grounded in the non-indigenous concepts of wellbeing, demography, and economic productivity and prosperity. Prout (2012) also argues that such assumptions directly impact on how Indigenous peoples are represented across broader society and to governments.

Key Question

  •   How  does the Indigenous wellbeing framework differ from previously discussed wellbeing frameworks?

 

Australian jurisdictional frameworks

Several Australian jurisdictions have been specifically developed wellbeing frameworks to promote and develop student and staff wellbeing in educational contexts and these include: Queensland Student Learning and Wellbeing Framework; New South Wales Wellbeing Framework for Schools; South Australian Wellbeing for Learning and Life Framework; and the Northern Territory Government Principal Wellbeing Framework.

 

Queensland Student Learning and Wellbeing Framework

The Queensland Department of Education, {QDE} (2018) Student Learning and Wellbeing Framework focusses on developing healthy, confident and resilient young people who can successfully navigate a more complex world. This framework combines a focus on learning and wellbeing.  Key actions identified by the framework include: the creation of safe, supportive and inclusive environments; the building of staff, students and the school community capability; the implementation of supportive and inclusive environments; and the development of strong systems for early intervention(QDET, 2018).

 

New South Wales Wellbeing Framework for Schools

The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities {NSWDEC} (2015) Wellbeing Framework for Schools drives wellbeing development in educational contexts, by encouraging teaching and learning environments to focus on enabling the development of healthy, happy, successful and productive individuals. Within this framework students are also expected to contribute to their own wellbeing, the wellbeing of their peers and the collective wellbeing of their communities (NSW DEC, 2015).

 

South Australian Wellbeing for Learning and Life Framework

The South Australian Department of Education and Child Development {SADECD} (2016) Wellbeing for Learning and Life: A framework for building resilience and wellbeing in children and young people, applies across all areas of South Australian children and young people’s lives. This framework recognises the significant impact of education and care settings, and has links to the ACARA and the Early Years Learning Framework.

 

Northern Territory Government Principal Wellbeing Framework

The Northern Territory Government {NTG} (2017) Principal Wellbeing Framework  specifically targets the wellbeing of school principals. This framework supports principal wellbeing by “empowering principals to build their own wellbeing capacity through increased knowledge, skills, resilience and resources” (NTG, p.3).

Activity

  •  Use the following template to identify the strengths and weakness of each framework  in addressing wellbeing within an educational context.
Table 3.2 Framework strengths and weaknesses

 

Other Influences

In Australia there have been several other influences on wellbeing and these include: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, Australian Professional Standards for Principals; and the Australian Curriculum.

 

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers {APST} (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership {AITSL}, 2011) outlines a public statement of what constitutes teacher quality. Professional Standard 4, Create and Maintain Supportive and Safe Learning Environments provide a framework for fostering wellbeing and a mentally healthy educational community.

 

Australian Professional Standards for Principals

The Australian Professional Standards for Principals {APSP} (AITSL, 2014) provides a public statement setting out what school principals are expected to know, understand and do in order to succeed in school leadership. The accompanying Leadership Profiles arise directly from the Standards, and are presented as a set of leadership actions that effective principals implement in order to develop and support teaching that maximizes student learning.

 

Australian Curriculum

Powell and Graham (2017) note that governments across the globe are now using National Curriculum Frameworks as a means to implement student wellbeing. Waters (2017) also identified that Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s {OECD} (2015) Centre for Educational Research and Innovation’s {CERI} analysis of National Curriculum Frameworks across 37 OECD countries identified that student wellbeing was an explicit aim for 72% of countries, with many OECD countries are now aiming to systematically foster both academic outcomes and student wellbeing outcomes.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority {ACARA}, 2016) sets out consistent national standards to improve learning outcomes for all young Australians. The General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum specifically outline the need for students to develop social and emotional skills, and acknowledges the link between academic outcomes and mental health (ACARA, 2016). Developing personal and social competence and managing self, relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively; recognizing and regulating emotions and developing concern for, and understanding of others; establishing positive relationships; making responsible decisions; working effectively in teams; and handling challenging situations constructively are identified and key capabilities (ACARA, 2016). For further information we suggested accessing these frameworks in full.

 Interestingly, the construct of wellbeing is not always viewed the same way in international educational judications. A study by Souter, O’Steen and Gilmore (2012) suggested that New Zealand educational system’s view of wellbeing differs from how it is conceptualized within literature, with words and phrases describing wellbeing constructs more often associated with the Relating domain rather than the Feeling domain. Thorburn’s (2017) examination of wellbeing in curriculum in Scotland identified a policy vision of a more progressive, integrated and holistic form of education; a commitment which contains an obligation for health and wellbeing to be a responsibility of all teachers, however, there were often issues with enactment of the policy due to problems communicating policy expectations.

In contrast, O’Toole (2017) outlines wellbeing as being conceptualised in Ireland in terms of child and youth mental health, and how that this informs a focus on school-based prevention and intervention approaches. And finally, Fattore, Mason and Watson (2012) propose a different perspective on wellbeing by exploring the use of student voice as mechanism for developing wellbeing in New Zealand’s curriculum frameworks.

Activity

  •  Critique how the notion of wellbeing as it presented in this group of frameworks.
  •  Critique how this group of frameworks align or do not align with previous frameworks.
  •  Consider elements of the APST, APSP and ACARA frameworks that could be in tension with each other or with practice and programs in educational contexts.

 

Conclusion

Chapter 3 has explored Australian and international legislation, policy, and frameworks which inform a focus on wellbeing. Investigation reveals that local, state, national and international jurisdictions all agree that children and young people have the right to an education that supports their wellbeing and development. Improving the wellbeing of Australian children and young people has also been a key priority for Australian governments. However, despite this there is no universal definition or agreement as to what wellbeing is and how it could be achieved, with many contrasting constructs of wellbeing evident across local, state and national Australian policies. The implementation of wellbeing policy, frameworks and legislation is then complex and open to multiple interpretations which make enactment problematic for educational contexts.

 

References

Albrecht, N. (2014). Wellness. The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society, 4 (1), 21-36.

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority {ACARA}. (2016). General capabilities. Retrieved from:  http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/general_capabilities.html

Australian Government Department of Education and Training {AGDET}. (2018). National safe schools framework. Retrieved  From https://www.education.gov.au/safe-schools-hub-0

Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council {AHMAC}. (2017). National strategic  framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ mental health and social and emotional wellbeing. Retrieved from   https://pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/publications/mhsewb-framework_0.pdf

Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission {AHREOC}. (1986). Australian  human rights and equal opportunity act 1986. Retrieved from       https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00143

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Bacchi, C. (2000) Policy as discourse: What does it mean? Where does it get us? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 21 (1), 45-57. doi: 10.1080/01596300050005493

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Clarke, A.M., Sixsmith, J. & Barry, M. M. (2014). Evaluating the implementation of an  Emotional wellbeing program for primary school children using participatory approaches. Health Education Journal, 74(5), 578-593. doi: 10.1177/001789691455313

Coburn, C.E. & Turner, E.O. (2011). Research on data use: A framework and analysis. Journal Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, 9 (4), 173-206.       doi.org/10.1080/15366367.2011.626729

Cochran, C.L. & Malone, E.F. (2010). Public policy: Perspectives and choices (4th ed.).  Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

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Garrison, R.  (2011). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

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4

Contemporary Perspectives on the Impactors and Enablers to Wellbeing

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Key Concepts

Key Concepts:

  • There are ways of working that impact and /or enable positive wellbeing.
  • If ways of working are known to impact wellbeing then the impact or implications could be changed to achieve a more positive outcome.
  • If ways of working are known to enable wellbeing then the impact or implications could be changed to achieve a more positive outcome.

 

Guiding question:

How is wellbeing enhanced?

Figure 4.1 A photograph a bubble taken at daytime by Vitaliy Paykov on unsplash

 

Introduction

It is now widely accepted that wellbeing has moved to centre stage in recent years, with educational contexts now playing a vital role in prioritising the promotion of wellbeing of children and young people (MCEETYA, 2008). There is also growing international and national evidence that educational context-based wellbeing programs, when implemented effectively, produce long term benefits for children and young people, including improved social emotional functioning and academic performance (Clarke, Sixsmith & Barry, 2014). Additionally, McCallum and Price, (2016) argue that educational contexts also play a vital role in fostering teacher wellbeing. In order to understand the construct of wellbeing more, this chapter will explore contemporary perspectives on factors that impact on, and enable wellbeing, which have been termed impactors and enablers to wellbeing (Carter, 2016).

 

Perspectives on wellbeing impactors and enablers

There are differing perspectives on impactors and enablers of wellbeing. One study conducted in Queensland Australia by Carter (2016), acknowledged that impactors of Subjective Well-Being {SWB}were broadly what a participant reported as impacting upon their SWB. More specifically a negative impactor {referred to simply as impactor} was defined as that which detracts from a person’s SWB as a consequence of a negative evaluation. A positive impactor {referred to simply as an enabler} was defined as that which enhanced a person’s SWB as a consequence of a positive evaluation. Enablers were linked to a way of working intended to support the person to make a positive evaluation of their competency and therefore feel satisfied with life or feel positive affect.

Carter (2016) identified several major negative impactors to school principal’s SWB, such as a perceived lack of time to complete expected tasks; perceived lack of support; perceived lack of supervisor trust; self-doubting; inability to safe guard others; and questionable/poor decision making. Time was referred to with breadth as being time to learn; time to experience; insufficient time to think; and a preoccupation of thinking about work when in non-work related contexts. This impactor may well apply to teachers and students who report experiencing high levels of stress when faced with tasks they feel unable to complete competently within specified timeframes due to what Mulford (2003) terms as the busyness of educational contexts. A noted enabler was a feeling of control to create and maintain life balance and that this sense of balance {determined differently by each individual} helped them to maintain their positive SWB (Carter, 2016).

McCallum and Price (2016) suggest that wellbeing is more influenced by factors that impact on, and / or enable an individual to respond effectively in times of crisis, trauma, or ill-health. Approaches subscribing to this view tend to focus on resilience as a key impactor, and resilience development as a key enabler of wellbeing.  While this perspective certainly has merit, there has been a growing movement, particularly in regard to the notion of wellbeing within educational contexts, that views wellbeing being as “more than just the absence of illness, and includes life satisfaction, healthy behaviours and resilience” (Ryff, 1989, as cited in McCallum & Price, 2012, p.4).

McCallum and Price (2016) suggest that there needs to be a positive and proactive approach to promoting wellbeing in educational settings, as it promotes wellbeing as a central focus and recognises the influences of change and the complexity in  the 21st  century,  rather  than being reactive and deficit in thinking. McCallum and Price (2016) likewise argue that this perspective also promotes a much more ‘holist’ view of wellbeing within a whole educational context. Additionally, Scoffham and Barnes (2011) argue that this approach also acknowledges the influence and interrelatedness between context, environment, life events, genetics and personality impactors and enablers on wellbeing such as:

Another perspective presented by Gillet-Swan and Sargeant (2015) is that the key components of wellbeing symbolise an intersection forming a  triumvirate of the emotional, physical and cognitive self. As such, wellbeing ought be seen as the state of an individual as affected by these elements, within which, an array of descriptors exist.

 

Identifying impactors and enablers

Understanding the dynamic interplay and interrelatedness between factors that negatively impact wellbeing and factors that help support positive wellbeing can provide an insight into how they influence wellbeing (Gillett-Swan & Sargeant, 2015). Let’s now examine impactors and enablers through two models that place wellbeing as the central focus.

 

Dynamic Model for Wellbeing

Campion and Nurse’s (2007) Dynamic Model for Wellbeing (refer to Figure 4.2) investigates the interaction between mental health and public health. This model has potential use and application in educational contexts as it illustrates the dynamic interplay between individual, physical and societal influences on wellbeing, through what are termed risk factors and protective factors.

Figure 4.2 Andersen, C., (2019). Adaption of Dynamic Model of Wellbeing from  Campion, J., & Nurse, J. (2007). A dynamic model for wellbeing. Australasian Psychiatry, 15 (sup1), S24-S28.

 

This model places wellbeing at the centre of improving physical and social wellbeing, and recognises risk factors {impactors}, and protective factors {enablers} of wellbeing. While this model has broader application in terms of policy development, it does have application to an educational context, as it identifies three main impactors and enablers affecting an individual’s wellbeing: genetic factors; life circumstances; and involvement in active pursuits and special interests.

 

  1. Genetic factors

Genetic factors such as an individual’s predisposition towards being happy or not, have the potential to either enable or impact on wellbeing. Although there are interactions between genetics, upbringing and environment, Diener and Oishi (2005) note that, genetic makeup acts as a strong precursor to wellbeing, where the temperament of the person has potential to act as a strong antecedent influence to wellbeing in either a positive or negative manner. Likewise, Burack, Blidner, Flores and Finch (2007) also argue that genetic factors account for “fifty percent of an individual’s predisposition to happiness” (Burack et al., 2007, p.3).

 

  1. Life circumstances

Life circumstances and the impacts that life has had on an individual either enable or impact on wellbeing. Campion and Nurse (2007) note that life circumstances, such socio economic status, income, material possessions, marital status and community environment have potential to significantly impact and / or enable wellbeing. In contrast Burack et al. (2007) argue while life circumstances do impact on wellbeing, they can change very rapidly {either for the better or the worst}, and as such argue that they only account for “10 % of personal happiness variation even though society spends a disproportionate amount on them” (Campion & Nurse, 2007, p.27).

 

  1. Involvement in active pursuits and special interests

Intentional involvement in active pursuits and special interests such as engaging in meaningful activities, participating in the workforce, socialising, physical activity and exercising and appreciating art, culture and life, can account for up to 40% of variation in happiness (Campion & Nurse, 2007), and as such have the greatest potential for influencing and enabling wellbeing. As a consequence, an individual’s chance of maintaining good wellbeing is increased by an active engagement in life. Conversely, non-participation has great potential to be a significant impactor on wellbeing.

Activity

  •  Consider what elements of the above model may assist you in considering risk factors/ impactors and protective factors/enablers to wellbeing.
  •  If you used this model or aspects of it, what are the risk factors/ impactors or protective factor/enablers to wellbeing in your context?

 

Positive Social Ecology Model

McCallum and Price (2012)’s positive social ecology model  draws on Bronfenbrenner’s (2004) work, and describes wellbeing within the natural, information, social and cultural environments of a community. This model identifies the following impacting and enabling factors:

 

Activity

  •  Consider your own context for moment. Consider what elements of the above model may assist you in considering impactors and enablers to wellbeing.
  •  If you used this model or aspects of it, what are impactors or enablers to wellbeing in your context?

 

Impactors to wellbeing

McCallum and Price (2016) note that a range of factors that impact wellbeing on a daily, weekly or monthly basis {some of which are within one’s control and some which are not}, with some adversely affecting wellbeing. Impactors may also occur suddenly or accumulate over lengthy periods of time before physical and/or mental indicators become evident. Significant impactors include the following:

Stress, fear, anxiety in response to stimuli such as peer conflict, relational conflict, harassment bullying, pressure from systemic requirements and time constraints, accountabilities, expectations and absence of a voice in decision making processes, can contribute to fatigue, exhaustion, stress, burnout, illness, and mental health issues which in turn may lead to poor overall wellbeing (Acton & Glasgow, 2015).

Low levels of resilience, optimism, self-esteem, and feelings of having no control over one’s life, impact on an individual’s ability to respond effectively in times of crisis, trauma, or ill-health, and as such have major impacts on wellbeing.

Negative self-efficacy, self-judgment and self-belief impact on an individual’s view of their own self and their capabilities, which may lead to the development of negative self-view and poor wellbeing (Acton & Glasgow, 2015).

Negative relationships between adults and adults, children and adults, and children and children arising from conflict, lack of emotional support, poor supportive environment, bullying, discrimination and harassment (Powell & Graham, 2017) impact greatly on wellbeing.

A lack of social and emotional competence or disposition impacts on wellbeing by cultivating negative or destructive relationships, which in turn contribute to a negative work, school or classroom climate, and subsequent loss of productivity (Abeles & Rubenstein, 2015).

 

Enablers to wellbeing

McCallum and Price (2016) identify three key enablers of a positive school ecology as hope, happiness and belonging that help enable wellbeing.

  1. Hope: Being optimistic about the future, pursing aspirations and taking control of one’s own wellbeing {being agentic} are key features in contemporary wellbeing education initiatives (Wrench, Hammond, McCallum & Price, 2013). The construct of ‘hope’ is comprised of two dimensions:
  1. Happiness: Positive emotional state.
  2. Belonging: Human beings have a fundamental need to belong and be accepted.

 

Activity

  • Consider your own context for moment.
  • Consider what elements of positive ecology exist in your setting.

 

Enablers to wellbeing in educational contexts

Noble, McGrath, Wyatt, Carbines and Robb (2008) in a report to the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations {DEEWR} identified the following seven enablers to wellbeing in educational contexts: (refer to Figure 4. 3):

  1. A supportive, caring and inclusive community
  1. Pro-social values
  1. Physical & emotional safety
  1. Social & emotional competencies
  1. A strengths-based approach
  1. A sense of meaning and purpose
  1. Healthy lifestyle
Figure 4.3 Andersen, C. (2019). Adapted Student Wellbeing Pathways Diagram from Noble, T., McGrath, H., Wyatt, T., Carbines, R. & Robb, L. (2008). Scoping study into approaches to student well-being: Literature review. Report to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Sydney, NSW: Australian Catholic University Erebus International, p.10.

 

Key Question

  • If you used this model or aspects of it, what are the possible impactors or enablers to wellbeing in your context?

 

Inclusion and Wellbeing

The models above all link in some way to a feeling of being included, with most linking to inclusion in educational contexts. As our world changes with increases in migration, refugee numbers and social complexity, our educational contexts also change and reflect what is happening within society (Abawi, Andersen & Rogers, 2019). What does this mean then for our educational contexts who are trying to engage in teaching and learning as their core business, in addition to being inclusive of  a changing population?  Educational contexts often have families from many different countries and varying socio-economic backgrounds, all with differing experiences, beliefs, values, thinking and opinions. As a consequence, promoting and sustaining wellbeing  within such contexts can at times  be a very complex (yet essential) task. Educational communities need to be encouraged to embrace a shared philosophy of inclusion, and to participate in practices that are welcoming and supportive, encourage equity and view changes in student population and diversity as opportunities for learning (Carter & Abawi, 2018).

Carter and Abawi (2018, p. 2) suggest that “inclusion is defined as successfully meeting student learning needs regardless of culture, language, cognition, gender, gifts and talents, ability, or background.” A feeling of being included and belonging is associated with positive wellbeing, and creating an environment for this to occur involves catering for the needs of individuals. While the literature reveals that the term ‘special needs’ has been linked to both disability and disadvantage, Carter and Abawi (2018) suggest the term now be applied more broadly to include “the individual requirements of a person, and the provision for these specific differences can be considered as catering for special needs” (p. 2) and these needs include supporting wellbeing.

 

Conclusion

There are multiple ways of working within wider society, an organisation, and an educational context that can impact on and /or enable positive wellbeing. If particular ways of working are known to impact wellbeing, then it is suggested that the impact or implications be mitigated in order to achieve a more positive outcome. Likewise, if ways of working are known to enable wellbeing. then the impact or implications could be changed in order to achieve a more positive outcome. The Dynamic Model of Wellbeing (Campion & Nurse, 2007), the Positive Social Ecology Model (McCallum & Price, 2016) and the Revised Student Wellbeing Pathways  (Noble et al., 2008) are suggested as possible models that could be utilised to investigate and analyse enablers and impactors within organisations and educational contexts.

 

References

Abawi, L., Andersen, C. & Rogers, C. (2019). Celebrating diversity: Focusing on inclusion. In S. Carter (Ed), Opening Eyes onto Diversity and Inclusion. Toowoomba Australia, University of Southern Queensland.

Abeles, V. & Rubenstein, G. (2015). Rescuing an overscheduled, over tested, underestimated       generation. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Acton, R., & Glasgow, P. (2015). Teacher wellbeing in neoliberal contexts: A review of the

       literature. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40 (8).99-114.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (2004). Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on

       human development. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Burack, J., Blidner, A., Flores, H. & Fitch, T. (2007). Constructions and deconstructions of risk, resilience and wellbeing: a model for understanding the development of Aboriginal adolescents. Australasian Psychiatry, 15, S18-S23.

Cahill, H & Freeman, E (2007) Creating school environments that promote social emotional

       wellbeing. In M. Keefe and S. Carrington (Eds.), Schools and diversity (2nd ed.). (pp. 90-

       107). French’s Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

Campion, J. & Nurse, J. (2007). A dynamic model for wellbeing. Australasian Psychiatry, 15,

       S24-S28.

Carter, S. (2016). Holding it together: an explanatory framework for maintaining subjective well-being (SWB) in principals. [Thesis (PhD/Research)].

Carter, S. & Abawi, L. (2018). Leadership, inclusion, and quality education for all. Australasian Journal of Special and Inclusive Education. doi 10.5772/66552

Clarke, A.M., Sixsmith, J. & Barry, M.M. (2014). Evaluating the implementation of an

       emotional wellbeing programme for primary school children using participatory

       approaches. Health Education Journal, 74 (5), 578 – 593. doi: 10.1177/001789691455313

Diener, E., & Oishi, S. (2005). The non-obvious social psychology of happiness. Psychological

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Gillett-Swan, J.K. & Sargeant, J. (2015). Wellbeing as a process of accrual: Beyond

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       10.1007/s11205-014-0634-6

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McCallum, F. & Price, D. (Eds.) (2016). Nurturing wellbeing development in education: From

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McCallum, F., Price, D. Graham, A. & Morrison A. (2017). Teacher wellbeing: A review of the

       literature. Retrieved from https://www.aisnsw.edu.au/…/Teacher%20wellbeing%20A%20review%20of%20the%

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young Australians. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf

Mulford, B. (2003). School leaders: Changing roles and impact on teacher and school effectiveness. Education and Training Policy Division, OEDC.

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5

Pragmatic Applications of Embedding an Education Wide Focus on Wellbeing

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Key Concepts

Key Concepts:

  • Educational contexts communities play a role in supporting wellbeing development in conjunction with academic development.
  • Wellbeing requires a whole educational contexts approach where wellbeing is embedded in educational context policies, curriculum, structures and practices, and as a shared responsibility of all stakeholders.

 

Guiding question:

How is wellbeing enacted and embedded?

 

Figure 5.1 Photograph by Jon Tyson on unsplash

 

Introduction

Given that almost all children attend school or an educational setting (e.g.,  early childhood centre) at some time during their lives, school and educational setting communities now have an unprecedented opportunity to play a role in supporting wellbeing development in conjunction with academic development. A whole-school or educational setting approach to student wellbeing promotion calls for student wellbeing approaches that are embedded in an education wide focus in policies, curriculum, structures and practices, and as a shared responsibility of all stakeholders (McCallum & Price, 2016). How do we best do this and take into account the diversity of our school or educational setting communities, while supporting and including people? In order to further a positive and proactive approach to promoting wellbeing in educational settings, this Chapter will explore pragmatic applications of embedding an education wide focus on wellbeing.

 

Key Question

 Before exploring approaches to wellbeing, take a moment to consider your own context.

  • How is wellbeing represented within the context’s policies, structures, practices, curriculum and pedagogy?

 

Approaches to wellbeing

The wellbeing of children and young people remains a concern both nationally and internationally, with an increasing focus of wellbeing policy, programs, and teacher professional development (Anderson & Graham,2016). Supporting wellbeing is now central to the business of educational contexts. However, as Barry, Clarke and Dowling (2017) note, the challenge for educational contexts and education system leaders lies in integrating evidence-based approaches that promote children and young people’s social and emotional wellbeing and staff wellbeing, and that are sustainable and embedded into the everyday practice of educational contexts. Approaches to wellbeing can be categorised as: positive psychology approaches; health and physical approaches; social and emotional learning approaches; character development and values approaches; relational approaches; and an inclusive approaches as shown in the Growing Inclusive Wellbeing model.

 

Positive psychology approaches

There has been a rapid growth in positive psychology approaches within educational communities, resulting in a number of associated practices now making their way into educational classrooms and settings all over the world (Ciarrochi, Atkins, Hayes, Sahdra & Parker, 2016). Positive psychology approaches focus on promoting optimal functioning and wellbeing by utilising “psychological discourse and its offshoot school-based training programs, which stress happiness, self-improvement and wellbeing” (Reveley, 2016, p.538).  Positive discourse approaches promote a conscious reflexive subjectivity; a focus on self and self-regulation; the use of creative ‘psychological flexibility’; and ‘mindfulness’; as a means to wellbeing (Revelely, 2016; Kashdan, 2010). Burckhardt, Manicavasagar, Batterham, and Hadzi-Pavlovic (2016) proport a viewpoint that such positive psychological approaches to wellbeing  are more productive, in that emphasis is placed on  prevention and early intervention, rather than reactive intervention in response to“ maladaptive emotion regulation strategies that correlate with poor wellbeing” {e.g., depression, anxiety} (p.41). Emerging from these approaches are a wide range of strategies that can be used within school communities to reduce distress, manage stress, improve mental health and wellbeing.

 

According to Hayes and Ciarrochi (2015), effective implementation of educational context wide positive psychology approaches that promote wellbeing are underpinned require five key actions including:

  1. The creation of empowering contexts that enable children and young people to clarify what they value and choose value-consistent actions.
  2. Assisting children and young people to use language to successful navigate contexts.
  3. Supporting children and young people to develop skills and resources through exploration and expansion of their context.
  4. Assisting children and young people to become aware of their inner and outer experiences in order to appreciate their present context and choices.
  5. Helping children and young people to develop perspective of themselves and others (Hayes & Ciarrochi, 2015).

 

However, it is worth noting that while research shows that positive psychology approaches (Ciarrochi, Parker, Kashdan, Heaven, & Barkus, 2015; Garland, Fredrickson, Kring, Johnson, Meyer & Penn, 2010) and school community positive education interventions have been shown to produce positive benefit (Waters, 2011), positive psychology has been criticized for being “decontextualized and coercive, and for putting an excessive emphasis on positive states, whilst failing to adequately consider negative experiences” (Ciarrochi et al., 2016, p.1).

 

Health and physical approaches

Good health in addition to regular participation in physical activity has been well recognised as having a positive impact on many aspects of children and young people’s health (Janssen and LeBlanc, 2010). Furthermore, Liu, Wu and Ming (2015) found that the educational contexts are some of the most effective settings in which to improve health and wellbeing outcomes and is consistent with the view that educational communities can create opportunities for stimulating and supporting all children and young people to be more physically active (Holt, Smedegaard, Pawlowski, Skovgaard & Christiansen, 2018; Naylor & McKay, 2009).

The following approaches have been widely utilised to address the health and physical education dimensions of wellbeing, in addition to the basic needs of children and young people (Naylor & McKay, 2009).

 

Carlsson, Rowe and Stewart (2001) identified that wellbeing was promoted in educational contexts when three key actions were in place.

  1. Curriculum, teaching and learning that encompassed a holistic view of health and the development of more generic life skills such as decision making, effective communication and negotiation skills (Carlsson et al.,2001).
  2. Whole of educational context  ethos, environment, structures, organisation, policies and planning  that support and reinforce health messages that are taught in the formal curriculum (Carlsson et al.,2001).
  3. Commitment  and collaboration within an educational  context’s community to develop a shared vision and create  strategies to address the physical and health needs of the whole educational context (Carlsson et al., 2001; McCallum & Price, 2016).

 

Social and Emotional Learning approaches

Greensburg, Domitrovich, Weissberg and Durlack (2017) argue that evidence-based Social and Emotional Learning {SEL} programs, when implemented effectively have potential to promote measurable and long-lasting improvements in the lives of children and young people. SEL approaches have a focus on contributing to wellbeing by developing responsibility, social skills and emotional management strategies which enhance children and young people’s “confidence in themselves; increase their engagement in school, along with their test scores and grades; and reduce conduct problems while promoting desirable behaviours” (Greensburg et al. 2017. p.13).

SEL program promote wellbeing by teaching students specific SEL skills in order to create a classroom and educational context culture that enhances and enables SEL skills (refer to Figure 5.2).

Figure 5.2 Andersen, C, Adapted Conceptual Model for Advancing SEL in Schools from Greensburg, M.T., Domitrovich, C.E., Weissberg, R.R. & Durlack, J.A. (2017). Social and emotional learning as a public health approach to education. Future of Children, 27 (1),13-32, p.17

 

There are five core elements of the model: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

 

Character development and values approaches

The last decade has seen a growth in interest in use of character development and values approaches within educational contexts as mechanisms for promoting wellbeing (Smith, 2013). Character development and values approaches foster important core, ethical and performance values such as caring, honesty, diligence, fairness, fortitude, responsibility, and respect for self and others as a means of affecting wellbeing (Quinlan, Swain & Vella-Brodrick, 2012). Both styles of approach support wellbeing through a focus on character strength training processes; by understanding and reflecting on values; and reflecting values in one’s own attitudes and behaviour. However, Linkins, Niemiec, Gillham and Mayerson (2015) argue that this approach tends to be more prescriptive in nature than other previously discussed approaches, and views character and values as an” external construct that needs to be instilled within the individual {rather than an innate potential to be nurtured}” (p.64).

 

Relational approaches

According to Correa-Velez, Gifford and Barnett (2010), relational approaches provide opportunities for children and young people to feel connected; to feel that they belong; and to feel that they are cared for. The ability of children and young people to connect has been shown to be a key protective factor in lowering health risk behaviour while concurrently increasing positive wellbeing (McCallum & Price, 2016). Relational approaches to supporting wellbeing focus on supporting wellbeing through programs and initiatives that focus on:

 

Approaching wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

As authors working at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) we acknowledge the Giabal and Jarowair peoples of the Toowoomba area, the Jagera, Yuggera and Ugarapul peoples of Ipswich and Springfield, the Kambuwal peoples of Stanthorpe and the Gadigal peoples of the Eora nation, Sydney as the keepers of ancient knowledge where USQ campuses and hubs have been built and whose cultures and customs continue to nurture this land. USQ also pays respect to Elders – past, present and future. Further, we acknowledge the cultural diversity of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pay respect to Elders past, present and future. Finally, we celebrate the continuous living cultures of First Australians and acknowledge the important contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have and continue to make in Australian society.

 

Please take a moment to listen to why we need to acknowledge its traditional custodians.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience considerably more widespread social disadvantages and poor health (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2018) than any other Indigenous population in the developed world, and alarmingly these outcomes are similar to Third World countries (Kingsley, J., Townsend, M., Henderson-Wilson, C., & Bolam, 2013; Carrington, Sheperd, Jianghong & Zubrick, 2012). Kingsley et al. (2018), suggest that evidence indicates that such inequalities can be better understood by focusing on a range of factors including the impact of colonisation, intergenerational trauma, cultural and social determinants of health, and by considering holistic ideas of wellbeing. Kingsley et al. (2018) also argue that current notions of indigenous wellbeing should be challenged. It is imperative that wellbeing outcomes are improved and schools can play a role in help enact change, guided by the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017-2023 (Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council {AHMAC}, (2017).

 

Addressing wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples requires understanding contexts (see Fossey, Holborn, Abawi, & Cooper, {2017} Understanding Australian Aboriginal Educational Contexts); Understanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives recognising human rights and the strength of family and kinship groups, traditional lifestyles, language, and geographical places. As authors we recognise and support the points raised by Alderete (2004) that the notion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples wellbeing should not only be linked to a set of standards or measurable indicators that are easy to implement for government reporting purposes and requirements. Instead wellbeing indicators should also include nuances that capture the numerous positive, protective enduring elements, connected with Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples’ ways of life (Prout, 2012). Biddle and Swee (2012), identified that there are many instances and examples in literature on Indigenous peoples that highlight the positive relationship between the sustainability of Indigenous land, culture and language and an Indigenous person’s wellbeing.

There are things you can be mindful of to make your support more meaningful for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples who may be struggling with their wellbeing. Panelli and Tipa (2009) suggest providing a culturally safe environment embedded with positive social relationships, being respectful of culture with connection to Country, kinship, traditional knowledge, and identity, and being supportive of physical, social, and spiritual needs helps foster wellbeing. We also encourage you to involve family, carers, or other community members in providing positive support.

 

Key Questions

Considering the points raised by Panelli and Tipa (2009) that providing a culturally safe environment embedded with positive social relationships, being respectful of culture with connection to Country, kinship, traditional knowledge, and identity, and being supportive of physical, social, and spiritual needs helps foster wellbeing.

  • What is being done in your context to ensure that this occurs?
  • How do you define family?
  • How do you involve family,  carers, or other Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples to provide positive support?

 

An inclusive approach

An inclusive approach synthesises elements of positive psychology, health and physical; social and emotional learning, character development and values, and relational approaches into one approach as educational contexts are expected to addresses all of these components we thought the approach to wellbeing needed to also be responsive to the contemporary educational context content. We present a model to depict the approach as shown below in Figure 5.3 Growing inclusive wellbeing. 

Figure 5.3 Growing inclusive wellbeing

 

The model ‘Growing Inclusive Wellbeing’ depicts five components, represented visually as circles in order to highlight the layers of knowledge, understanding and enactment through pathways that are embedded: the inner circle; an individual level; community level; structural level; and the educational context environmental culture.

 

The inner circle

The inner circle, Deep Understanding of Wellbeing,  represents the development of a whole educational context community understanding of wellbeing, including the enablers and impactors that are present within the content. As authors we suggest that every individual experiences wellbeing differently and as such embrace the definition put forward by Diener, Oishi, and Lucas (2003) to be “people’s emotional and cognitive evaluations of their lives, includes what lay people call happiness, peace, fulfilment, and life satisfaction” (p. 403). People’s views and definitions of SWB (commonly referred to as wellbeing) are personal and dependent upon how each individual evaluates their life (Carter 2016).

 

The three levels of wellbeing support

The next three circles in the diagram, depict factors that have an influence on wellbeing across all populations and these can be categorised into three key sections: Individual Level Wellbeing Supports; Community Level Wellbeing Supports; andStructural Level Wellbeing Supports.

 

The outer circle  

The out circle encapsulates what is happening throughout  an educational context in embedded practice, showing the School Environment and Culture of Commitment to wellbeing through ‘Welcome Me, Know Me and Help Me to Learn’.  An educational context’s environment is reflective of all that happens within the context’s community and it can be seen, heard and felt, often through nuanced experiences.  Table 5.1 highlights key components of ‘Welcome Me, Know Me and Help Me to Learn’.

Table 5.1 ‘Welcome Me, Know Me and Help Me to Learn’.

 

12 key pathways to embedding an education wide focus on wellbeing

Figure 5. 3 outlines 12 pathways to embedding an education wide focus on wellbeing. Building on, and adapting Noble, McGrath, Wyatt, Carbines and Robb’s research (2008), we suggest that there are  twelve key pathways that are essential in determining an educational context’s contribution to embedding wellbeing within a context’s community, in addition to identifying specific practices that educational contexts can put in place to enhance wellbeing: expert context leadership; strategic visioning; quality teaching and learning; a supportive, caring and inclusive educational context; a safe learning environment; social and emotional  competencies; a sense of meaning and purpose, including engaging student voice; using, monitoring and evidencing  strengths-based approaches; strategies encouraging a healthy lifestyle; programs to develop pro-social values; family and community partnership; and spirituality.

 

  1. Expert  leadership

The promotion of student, staff and community wellbeing, through effective leadership which:

 

  1. Strategic visioning

Educational context communities that have a clear meaningful and strategic vision promote the commitment of all members to pursue their work with energy, self-discipline, collaboration and a keen sense of purpose (Fullan, 2010). Strategic visioning is a guiding process that is essentially concerned with forward thinking which draw upon the beliefs, goals and the environment within an educational context, and “if done correctly should be the backbone of a positive and inspiring system” (Bainbridge, 2007, p.1). The longer term benefits are significant and very real, as strategic visioning can assist an educational context’s community to “break free from convention and encourage thinking ‘outside the box’” (Bainbridge, 2007, p.3). By clearly defining an educational context’s direction and purpose, a strategic vision alerts all with the context’s community where efforts should be directed in addition to  aligning resources and effort towards common goals. A strategic vision should be underpinned by a shared philosophy that every child has a right to learn and every child is capable of learning and should be given the opportunity to actively participate in all facets of school life (Carter & Abawi, 2018). It also provides a safe environment where new ideas can be encouraged, and new ways of working investigated in a safe and secure process.

Key Questions

  •  How and why does strategic visioning contribute (or not contribute) to wellbeing within your context?
  •  Do all members of your context accept responsibility for developing and sustaining wellbeing?
  •  Are all members of your educational context community encouraged to actively participate in developing, implementing, and / or evaluating wellbeing in your context?

 

3. Quality teaching and learning

Quality teaching and learning involves the provision of varied, engaging and inclusive high-quality pedagogy which:

 

Key Question

  • Do all members of your context accept responsibility for developing and sustaining supportive teaching and learning that supports wellbeing?

 

4.  A supportive, caring and inclusive educational context community

Noble et al., (2008) suggest whole school community approaches must promote an ethos and conditions for a supportive, caring and inclusive community. We have built upon the conditions to include:

 

 5. A safe learning environment

An emotionally secure and safe environment with development and application of ‘Safe Schools’ policies and procedures which:

When people feel safe and have this basic need satisfied they are more able to concentrate on learning tasks.

 

Key Questions

  •  Is being safe and supported acknowledged as being essential for student and staff wellbeing within your context? If so why, how and how often?
  •  How does trust, belonging and mutual respect contribute (or not contribute) to wellbeing in your context?
  • How does (or does not) a positive sense of inclusiveness and/ or identity contribute (or not contribute) to wellbeing in your context?

 

6. Social and emotional competencies

Social and emotional competencies enable individuals to learn how to solve problems, manage feelings, manage friendships, promote the ability to cope with difficulties, relate to others, resolve conflict, and feel positive about themselves and the world around them.

By increasing social and emotional competence an individual’s capacity to cope and stay healthy is increased (McCallum & Price, 2016) in spite of the negative factors that happen through life as the social and emotional competencies act as buffers to wellbeing depletion (Carter, 2016).  Noble et al. (2016) suggest that social and emotional competencies include being resilient, being able to cope with difficult and stressful situations and events, engaging in positive and optimistic thinking, having self-awareness, setting and achieving goals, developing successful relationships and making decisions. McCallum and Price (2016) add competencies such problem-solving, conflict management and resolution, the ability to work collaboratively, and the development of self-help skills that enable individuals to utilise their own efforts and resources to achieve wellbeing. Weare and Nind (2011) extend social and emotional competencies even further by including an understanding of, and managing feelings, and an understanding of, and management of relationships with parents / carers, peers and teachers.

 

7. A sense of meaning and purpose

Provision of as many opportunities as possible to participate in the educational context and the wider community in order to develop a sense of meaning or purpose including:

Engaging student voice is important. Sometimes within schools, conversations about student wellbeing and mental health can often occur without discussions with students themselves about these issues (Heysen & Mason, 2014). Substantial research points to the benefits and value of involving children and young people in decision making, as well provision of their points of view (Bessell, 2011). Research by Simmons, Graham and Thomas (2015) revealed just how capable students were in “providing rich, nuanced accounts of their experience that could potentially inform school improvement” (p.129), with students often “identifying creative ways that pedagogy, the school environment and relationships could be improved, changed or maintained to assist their wellbeing” (p.130). The voice of students within schools should then be a central part of our conversations and plans as we “work out how to nurture happy, balanced kids by actively engaging with students…. about matters that concern them” (Heysen & Mason, 2014, p.15). Such findings highlight the importance of student voice as a democratic, participatory and inclusive approach in schools.

 

Key Questions

  •  Is social and emotional learning explicitly taught in your context? If so what, why, how and how often?
  •  How does (or does not) a sense of meaning and purpose contribute (or not contribute) to student and staff wellbeing in your context?

 

8. Using, monitoring and evidencing strengths-based approaches

Using a strengths-based approach  involves educators discovering, developing and harnessing their own talents, and maximising these in the work domain to remain current in their field, implement innovative curriculum in ways that meet the needs of all their learners and to utilise feedback to continue to improve their performance. Teachers can also inspire students to discover, harness and maximise their own talents. Noble et al. (2008) suggest the adoption of a strengths-based approach to organisation, curriculum and planning should:

Consider how you do this and also how you evidence that it has occurred, including listening to and responding to feedback in order to improve your practise.

 

9. Strategies encouraging a healthy lifestyle

A healthy life style approach is one  that explicitly teaches students the knowledge and skills needed for a healthy and self-respecting life-style, and the support to apply the skills and knowledge to their own lives. This includes a focus on:

Consider ways that encouraging a healthy lifestyle can be explicitly evidenced in your practice.

 

10. Programs to develop pro-social values

Within schooling systems there are a number of programs that develop pro-social values. According to Nobel et al. (2008), pro-social values programs explicitly teach and model values such as honesty, respect, compassion, fairness, responsibility and acceptance of difference, in addition to providing practical opportunities to put values into practice within an educational context and the wider community. Consider what your community values and how reflective these values are of an inclusive and multicultural society as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives. How do you evidence that inclusive pro-social programs are occurring n your context?

 

Key Questions

  •  Are strength-based approaches used within your context? If so, who are they used with, and how and why do they contribute (or not contribute) to wellbeing within your context?
  •  Are strategies encouraging healthy lifestyle used within your context? If so, who are they used with, how and why do they contribute (or not contribute) to wellbeing within your context?
  •  Are pro-social values explicitly taught in your context? If so what, why, how, and how often?

 

11. Family and community partnerships

Well implemented interventions that support school and classroom strategies for developing:

 

Students are engaged by through avenues that encourage:

Parents/carers are also engaged in genuine participation, particularly families that may feel blamed and/ or stigmatized (Weare & Nind, 2011). This engagement is nuanced as it depends on interests, skillsets and abilities. Many schools use school or parent liaison officers to help create and maintain parent engagement (Carter & Creedon, 2019).

 

12. Spirituality

Spiritual wellbeing is considered by many to play an important part in the promotion of general wellbeing, health and quality of life.  Eckersley (2007) defines spirituality as “a deeply intuitive, but not always consciously expressed sense of connectedness to the world in which we live” (p. 54), with wellbeing arising from the web of relationships and interests that arise from that connectedness. De Souza (2009) suggests that the term spirituality is inclusive of a myriad religions and encompasses the notion of connection to a higher being.  Grieves (2006) argues that spirituality is a starting point for wellbeing, and is understood and experienced within a social, natural and material environment, which based upon the cultural understandings that people have developed to enable them to interact with their world.

 

As consequence, Yust, Johnson, Sasso, and Roehlkepartain (2006) argue that spirituality plays a role in the wellbeing of both students and staff, with spirituality being the factor in human life that nurtures and gives expression to the inner and outer lives of students and staff, which in turn promotes balance and wellbeing. A study by Dobmeier and Reiner (2012) identified the following mechanisms for developing spirituality within an educational context:

 

Key Questions

  •  Do family and community partnerships support wellbeing within your context? If so, who are they used with, and how and why do they contribute (or not contribute) to wellbeing within your context?
  •  Is spirituality addressed within your context? If so, how is addressed and how does it contribute (or not contribute) to wellbeing within your context?

 

Wellbeing Resources

As part of the focus on wellbeing we encourage educational contexts to regularly collect evidence of their practice. Figure 5.4 below features a snapshot of evidence of how students are supported and engaged in their learning and we know from research that this helps to contribute to a feeling of context connectedness and belonging which is strongly linked to positive wellbeing.

 

Figure 5.4 Photograph of a snapshot of evidence growing inclusive wellbeing, (2018). Australia, USQ Photography.

 

Conditions for success

Educational contexts are faced with the challenge of creating a space to talk about, model and encourage healthy eating, appreciating the peaceful moments and the beauty of the world, and taking the time to exercise.

 

Figure 5.5 A photograph of a salad by Sara Dubler on unsplash

There is clear consensus in the literature regarding the importance of healthy eating. Nutrition is a component that now features in discussions regarding school lunches, tuckshop menus and access to appropriate foods along with education about nutrition. The challenge for educational contexts is for staff to model healthy eating and good nutritional practices, the educational contexts to understand what healthy eating is, and to embed a focus on good nutritional practices in the day to day educational context community language and ways of working.

 

 

Figure 5.6 A photograph of a dandelion by Dawid Zawita on unsplash.

Teach children and young people to just take a moment to appreciate the simple pleasures, the depth of colour in the sky, the sound of the birds, the movement of the wind, the clever design of the dandelion seeds floating on the wind, and the natural beauty of our planet. We suggest you explicitly ask children and young people to note the peaceful moments and the peaceful images, and to draw attention to the positive elements in their daily lives by connecting to the land  we inhabit.

 

 

A photograph of a person playing soccer by Marcus Spiske from unsplash

 

Research suggests that exercising is good for people and contributes to feelings of positive wellbeing. What does this mean for educational contexts that are committed to fostering wellbeing? We suggest that educational contexts need to discuss what this looks like in practice for their context and community, and how the context’s practices can cater for diversity of interest, culture, religion, and ability while maximizing available resources.

 

 

In order for an education wide focus on wellbeing to be successfully embedded, the following conditions are required in order to create effective implementation and sustainability of whole of educational context wellbeing initiatives:

We strongly support the suggestion by Noble et al. (2008), stressing the importance of appointing a wellbeing coordinator or team to oversee the implementation of any wellbeing initiatives. We also suggest that it is important to analytically and critically review practice to know when initiates are effectively achieving the desired outcomes or when change is required so that informed decision-making can occur.

 

Key Question

Consider the different perspectives that you need to take into account:

  • What does high participation look like, feel like and sound like for people with disabilities,  learning difficulties, English as second language or dialect, first peoples, gifted and talented students, indeed for all individuals? How do you evidence that this is occurring?

 

Figure 5.8 Photograph by Audi Nissen on unsplash

 

Conclusion

We, together with McCallum and Price (2016) argue that even though academic achievement continues to be a high priority within educational contexts, addressing wellbeing across the whole educational community as well as in the learning environment, curriculum, pedagogy, policies, procedures and partnerships domains, is of upmost importance.

By investing in whole of educational context wellbeing programs and initiatives in conjunction with academic development, Scoffham and Barnes (2011) likewise argue that there will be significant benefits not only for student wellbeing, but also to student achievement, teacher wellbeing and productivity. Wellbeing then requires a whole educational context approach, where wellbeing is embedded in a context’s  policies, curriculum, structures and practices, and as a shared responsibility of all stakeholders. This Chapter has endeavoured to grow thinking about wellbeing behaviour and ecology, as well as highlighting a way of evidencing and supporting wellbeing growth, emphasising the importance of aligning the values of an educational context, and ways of working, with the pathways that help enable wellbeing.

 

 

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6

Ecological and Contextual Analysis of Wellbeing: in your context

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Key Concept

 

  • Ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing using evidence based and contextual self-assessment.

Guiding question:

 

Figure 6.1 Photograph of hand holding by Rawpixel on unsplash.

Forming connections and fitting in is associated with positive wellbeing. Consider then, how do educational contexts create a sense of connection and belonging.

 

Introduction

There is increasing understanding that educational contexts have an important role to play in supporting the social and emotional development of children and young people. Interventions undertaken in educational context settings have the potential to influence a range of social, health and mental health outcomes.  Evidence suggests that good mental and physical health not only optimises a young person’s academic performance but also enhances the ability to cope with the challenges and stressors of daily life, and thereby to become a productive member of society in the longer term.

We draw your attention to wellbeing considerations for all people but especially challenge you to think about how you meet the needs of people with disabilities, some of whom have a comorbidity of disabilities or special needs, may be profoundly disabled and could also be non-verbal. Consider also the stress factors that may be present in some families who are dealing with very complex and challenging issues. How best can we then understand the complex needs of an individual?

Although wellbeing can be seen principally as relating to the individual, a social conception of wellbeing transfers attention to the interplay of individuals, incorporating the social and cultural dimensions that they arbitrate as contributing to their satisfaction with life. This Chapter explores ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing using evidence based and contextual self-assessment as a means of understanding the concept of wellbeing from an individual, classroom, educational context, and system perspective, and what is exactly occurring within your own educational community context. In this chapter we also suggest a way of developing a wellbeing framework based upon evidence-based practice and we include numerous practical templates for use or adaption. We acknowledge the limitations of some of the templates when applied in various settings such as early childhood,  special education units, and we seek your input to co-create more meaningful resources. Please feel welcome to contact us, our details in the Foreword section of this book.

Activity

Before undertaking an ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing within your own context, consider what both terms might mean for you, and how they might apply to your context.

Let’s now examine how literature defines contextual and ecological analysis. Spencer (2007) defines ecological analysis as an investigation of the relationship between individuals and each other, and their relationship to their physical surroundings. Wu and David (2002) expanded this a little further by proposing that individuals’ perceptions about settings and their experiences within an environment matter, and that ecological analysis is a process of understanding how individuals’ experiences contribute to ‘making sense’ of situations and experiences negotiated progressively over time and place. Thus, an ecological analysis of wellbeing provides an opportunity to investigate the wide variety of bidirectional, and individual-context interactions that in turn, contribute to the construct that is well being. George et al., (2015) define context as the circumstances that impact on a setting or event, and contextual analysis as the process of understanding the broader range of relationships that influence the outcome of a subject being investigated within that setting or event. Thus, according to Smith, Montagno, and Kuzmenko (2004), a contextual analysis is an analysis of a context within both its historical and cultural setting, the qualities that characterize it, and the characteristics of the ecology/environment that influence these.

An ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing within a specific context /worksite offers an opportunity to investigate information about whether or not an approach / strategy / intervention ‘fits’ within the context in which it has been implemented, and provides a ‘snapshot’ of measurable community characteristics and evidence as to whether a wellbeing strategy has been implemented effectively, has been useful, and/ or has been accepted by a particular community.

 

Factors influencing wellbeing

The World Health Organization {WHO} (2013) identifies supporting environments for well-being to be a key responsibility of educational contexts. WHO (2013) points to a range of research which has found that educational context connectedness, or the feeling of closeness to context staff and the context’s environment decreases the likelihood of health risk behaviours during adolescence. Educational contexts with a climate of confidence and respect among principals,staff,pupils and parents reflect the lowest rates of general anxiety,school anxiety and emotional and psychosomatic balance among children and young people.

“A positive educational experience and a good level of academic achievement can contribute significantly to enhancing self-esteem and confidence, better employment, life opportunities and social support” (Department of Education and Skills Health Service Executive and Department of Health {DESHSEDH}, 2013, p.8). Life skills education, strongly supported by Weare and Nind (2011) and the WHO (2013), are viewed  as a preventive measures for a range of health and social problems,  and include the development of skills such as: decision making/ problem solving; creative thinking/ critical thinking; communication/ interpersonal skills; self-awareness/ empathy; coping with emotions/ coping with stress. In contrast, poor engagement and achievement in an educational context setting is a risk factor for a range of social, health and mental health problems such as substance misuse, unwanted teenage pregnancy, crime and conduct problems.

A study by Kidger, Gunnell, Biddle, Campbell, and Donovan (2010) identified that teachers also were a key factor influencing  the emotional health and well being of students. However,  Kidger et al. (2010) also noted that in instances where teachers’ own emotional health needs were neglected, this left them with little ability, and in some cases an unwillingness, to cater for the wellbeing of students. The findings from the study conclusively endorsed whole-school approaches to wellbeing which also focused on teachers’ training and support needs. This study highlights the importance of wellbeing programs that focus on the whole educational community context, fore fronting the health and wellbeing of all staff and all students.

Broadly speaking then, factors that have an influence on wellbeing across all populations can be grouped into three key areas: individual, community and structural.

Key Questions

Consider your own context for a moment.

  • What factors influence wellbeing within your own context? What factors can your school influence?
  •  What supports are currently in place within your context that support the positive development of wellbeing?

 

Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory

Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) Ecological Systems Theory summarised decades of theory and research about the fundamental progressions that guide life-span development, and stressed the importance of studying an individual within the context of the multiple environments in which they are positioned (Darling, 2007). Bronfenbrenner defined this as an ecological system which contributed to understanding of how a person grows and develops, which in turn develops a deeper understanding of individuals, their needs and their wellbeing. Ecological Systems Theory then has potential to be a useful framework for understanding how inherent qualities of an individual’s environment interacts to influence how they develop and grow.

Within this theory, Bronfenbrenner (1979) devised classifications for various levels and degrees of intervening influence on a person’s development, with these systems referred to as a “system of layers, with each layer located inside the other, similar to that of Russian nesting dolls” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 22). Bronfenbrenner’s perspective reinforced the critical and pervasive role that the Microsystem {the immediate environment of the individual including everyone that they interact with on a regular basis.}; the Mesosystem {the interaction between members/components of the microsystem}; the Exosystem {the broader environment that directly affects the immediate environment of the individual}; the Macrosystem{the overarching system that consists of culture, laws, economy, politics, etc}; and the Chronosystem {how certain variable affect the individual over time, including life events and changes in socioeconomic status} had on influencing  an individual’s behaviour, as shown in  Figure 6.2.

Figure 6.2: Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory of Development Model

 

Since Bronfenbrenner’s initial Ecological Systems Theory theory was proposed,  Bowes and Hayes (1999) have added several other components to Bronfenbrenner’s model.  Firstly, individual characteristics were introduced, such as temperament and gender, followed by the addition of historical factors impacting on current behaviours attitudes and practices, with the acknowledgment that these vary over time. More recently Bronfenbrenner (2004; 2005) has also adopted these adaptions to his original model, as shown in Figure 6.3.

Figure 6.3 Unknown author, (u.d.). Interpretation of Bronfenbrenner’s model of the ecology of human development.

Within this extended Ecological Systems Theory model:

Activity

Consider  Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model and reflect on how this model may be useful in helping teachers to better understand and support their students.

Other researchers have applied and adapted Bronfenbrenner’s model to understandings about particular disabilities. A biomedical model has powerfully shaped and historically been a key way of understanding and supporting mental health in children and young people (Deanon, 2013). More recently, the emergence of a body of early childhood and health literature has recognised the influence which biological, psychological and social factors can have on children’s / young people’s health, learning and development. (Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing {ADHA}, 2014)

However,  while the Ecological Systems Theory Model offers a potential framework for use in an ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing within a educational context and community, Armitage,  Béné, Charles, Johnson, and Allison (2012)  argue that caution needs to be exercised in using only one  framework or approach in the analysis of  wellbeing.  Instead Armitage et al., (2012) propose  “the development of hybrid approaches and innovative combinations of social and ecological theory in order to provide signposts and analytical tools to understand complexity and change” (p.12) with an educational context.

Activity

Consider your own context for a moment and the supports that you believe are in place for the positive development of wellbeing. 

  1. Construct an ecological model for yourself and your own wellbeing in your work context.
  2. Construct an ecological model for someone whose wellbeing you are concerned about in your work context.

 

Developing an educational context framework

It is suggested that educational contexts develop a framework to ensure that wellbeing is an explicit focus within the educational community. The question then becomes, what goes into the framework. Reviewing the information shared in Chapter 3, Garrison (2011) defined a framework as a set of beliefs, rules or thinking that outline what actions can be undertaken. White (2010) suggested that a wellbeing framework is “a social process with material, relational, and subjective dimensions” (p.158). We suggest that a wellbeing framework should align with the beliefs and values espoused by the educational community context; clearly outline the shared definition underpinned by a deep knowledge of the possible impactors and enablers to wellbeing; include pathways for enactment; and ways it be evaluated at individual, community and structural levels where educational context community input is sought with open communication and relationships as central components. We suggest that your framework begins with your educational context vision and beliefs. In the following section we suggest that you use a model, guiding questions and a checklist and surveys to evaluate your progress.

 

How is wellbeing evidenced

At the start of the chapter we posed a guiding question for you to consider. The guiding question was how is wellbeing enhanced? How do you know what you know about wellbeing? What are you using to evidence your judgements? What follows are photographic examples, and resources for use in educational contexts that have been developed to assist you in investigating wellbeing within your own educational communities.  The resources have been provided as a guide, a way of working to inform your wellbeing journey, and as a means of ensuring that your judgements are evidenced based. The examples may be adapted to suit different models and educational communities. We suggest that you use a variety of artefacts to evidence practice. This gathering of evidence could be done at a classroom level by individual teachers; a year levels/ teaching teams; and a whole of educational context level.

 

School examples of practice

Creating a sense of belonging where people are connected to the educational context , feel safe and also know that they have realistic learning opportunities, helps to nurture wellbeing. We have taken a variety of photographs to help model how elements of wellbeing promotion can be evidenced.  There are many ways to see wellbeing within an educational context, and the following  (Figures 6.4, 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7) illustrate a small snapshot of possible ideas.

Figure 6.4 Photograph of Values. (2018), Australia, USQ.

Values are clearly displayed in multiple places throughout the school contributing to a culture of care and respect for other (see Figure 6.3). These same values are on display in all classrooms beside the positive behaviour expectations, in every play space, in the office, the staffroom and the meeting rooms, are linked to verbally in every parade, and associated with positive reinforcement through STAR awards.

 

Educational contexts should be committed to providing safe, inviting and welcoming learning spaces so that students experience a feeling of belonging. These spaces should also be places of quality learning and teaching where the learning needs of each individual are acknowledged and catered for so that success as determined differently by each individual, can be experienced and celebrated (as shown in Figure 6.5).

Figure 6.5 Photograph of  an inviting classroom with scaffolded learning where the focus was on quality learning and teaching. (2018), Australia, USQ.

 

Pictured below in Figure 6.6 is the intensive learning classroom which is rich in visual scaffolding helping to support the delivery of explicit instruction.

Figure 6.6 Photograph of materials to support explicit instruction. (2018), Australia, USQ.

 

Below in Figure 6.7, a shared language is evidence around the establishment of a shared professional dialogue and way of working where all students are welcome, teachers are challenged to create a sense of belonging for every student and the needs of individual students are a key focus through ‘Welcome Me, Know Me, and Help Me to Learn’.

Figure 6.7 Photograph of a meeting room whiteboard illustrating: ‘Welcome Me, Know Me, Help Me to Learn’. (2018), Australia, USQ Photography.

 

This photograph captures a way of working where the needs of the child are fore fronted and the focus is on student engagement in learning. The photograph was taken in the meeting room and ‘Welcome Me’, ‘Know Me’, and ‘Help Me Learn’ regularly featured in pedagogical discussion, year levels meetings and staff meetings. Teachers and teacher aides are also engaged in professional development opportunities to further enhance their understanding was to be enacted.

 

Resources for use in schools to formulate a wellbeing framework

We suggest that your framework begins with your educational context vision and beliefs. We assume that this has already been developed and regularly reviewed with your context’s annual plan. By linking it specifically to the wellbeing framework alignment can be scaffolded.

  1. In the following section we suggest that you use a model and we have provided a template:

 

  1. We have then provided a list of guiding questions:

 

  1. There is also a possible checklist/ brainstorm sheet for data gathering of possible impactors and enablers and potential school response actions.

 

  1. We have provided a checklist for data gathering information about whole school wellbeing.

 

  1. We have linked a variety of surveys to inform your thinking and these surveys are targeted at different groups.

 

While we have provided the surveys in a template form there is no reason that these surveys could to be redeveloped and used in a multi-modal format (e.g., Survey Monkey) and made to suit your specific context. In providing a range of surveys it is hoped that you can select what best suits your context and /or to use different surveys at differing times of the year and cross validate the data findings {e.g., beginning or end of the year}.

 

Start with the vision, values and a model

The text in the following section has the various resources, labelled as Tables, hyperlinked as word documents so that you can use the resources and personalise them for your context.   We suggest you start with a model (word form hyperlinked here (Table 6.1 Growing Inclusive Wellbeing), also shown below as a snapshot of the template  (Figure 6.8: ‘Growing Inclusive Wellbeing’).

Figure 6.8 Growing Inclusive Wellbeing

 

Guiding questions for schools

We recognise that educational contexts are unique contexts full of creative people and we expect that each educational context will generate other questions to guide their designing, enacting and reflecting upon wellbeing. We know that educational contexts are also busy places and that judgments are made that are not always evidenced based and these judgments are not always correct. We encourage critical reflection and challenge you to try to uncover assumptions and practices that may or may not promote wellbeing. Further to this we hope that every educational contexts endeavours to engage all members in growing inclusive wellbeing.  In the Hyperlinked  activity below, we provide some guiding questions to help school communities on their journey with wellbeing. We also provide some challenge questions around a simple thinking frame of ‘Welcome Me’, ‘Know Me’, and ‘Help Me Learn’.

This way of thinking – ‘Welcome Me’, ‘Know Me’, and ‘Help Me Learn’, when enacted can become part of an embedded inclusive culture that enables wellbeing for everyone. People can use this to support the special needs of each individual whether they are a student, a parent, a teacher or another staff member.

Scenario

Angela, a new single mother arrives at the school and enrolls her year 6 child Jo. Upon enrollment Angela is introduced to the school community liaison officer who takes the time to try and get to know Angela and establish the beginnings of a positive relationship with Angela. This is the ‘welcome me’ in action.

Jo, the year 6 student is away from school for several days.

Activity

  • What assumption does the class teacher make? What action needs to occur?

 

As part of the ‘Welcome Me’ a possible way of working that may help to establish educational context  belonging is for the educational context community liaison officer, as part of their regular routine work, to call the family on day three at the school, at the end of week 2 and then at the end of term. Imagine if the parent liaison officer telephones the mother and it is revealed that the mother’s car has broken down and she cannot afford to fix it and so has no way of getting Jo to school. This is the ‘Know Me’ in action. With this information the parent liaison officer can then utilise networks and contextual understandings and linkage with others to ensure that Jo is transported to and from school. Consider how this may benefit Jo in terms of learning, engage, school connectedness and wellbeing.  If the community liaison officer makes Angela and Jo aware of the local bus and church community groups that can help ensure transport to and from shops and possible medical appointments while Angela is saving money to fix the car, this then becomes the ‘Help Me Learn’. Angela and Jo can then learn about how to link into community networks to ensure their needs are meet. The expectation is then not one of learned helplessness but one of learning how to engage with school community networks. Consider also if Angela had English as a second language and was a refugee. Consider how hard would it be for Jo to engage in quality teaching and learning and have positive wellbeing. ‘Welcome Me, Know Me and Help Me to Learn’ can be enacted for anyone through whole school community commitment and a shared knowledge language and way of working. In  Table 6.2 Guiding Questions, we model a way of questioning that links to ‘Welcome Me, Know Me and Help Me to Learn’.

Hyperlinked here is a word document which may be of use,  Table 6.3 Checklist for Enablers and Impactors which outlines a possible brainstorm list that schools can use to consider impactors and enablers. This checklist is useful to explore:

We have not listed all of the impactors and enablers, rather we have brainstormed a base list that school communities can add to and contextualise. We suggest using this checklist firstly from the perspective of the individual child, or individual teacher, individual principal or other staff member. This could be completed by the individual themselves and then the how do you know conversation could involve a buddy, mentor, or trusted other person. We then suggest that this same sheet could be of use when you look from the educational context‘s community perspective (e.g. what supports are evident from the context’s  community for an individual with their academic performance; with their homework etc) and this should be done with input from all stakeholder groups, staff, students and parents/caregivers.

 

Growing Inclusive Wellbeing Checklist

The following evidence-based practice checklist utilises the 12 pathways to wellbeing (outlined in chapter 5).  In this checklist evidence refers to information, processes, strategies, ways of working and data that are implemented or happening in the context. Evidence provides information in relation to whether a process, strategy or way of working, is feasible to implement; useful; likely to be accepted by a school community; and whether it is a potential vehicle for change. The term artefact refers to those items, things, policies and awards, that are captured in moment {e.g., a photograph} and these are physical forms of evidence. Evidence such as artefacts offer a ‘snapshot’ of wellbeing within an educational community context. Please use Table 6.4 Whole Educational Community Growing Inclusive Wellbeing Checklist.

 

Survey on wellbeing

We suggest that you work with all stakeholder groups and alter the wording on the survey captured here in Table 6.5 Survey on wellbeing . We have also included here an individual survey for the educational leader / principal/ school staff  which can be modified to best suit your context, captured here in Table 6.6 Individual level growing inclusive wellbeing checklist for the Principal and School Staff . We have also included an individual survey captured her in Table 6.7 Individual wellbeing level- growing inclusive wellbeing checklist for students  that specifically targets students and we encourage you to modify it so it is age appropriate and context specific . The surveys are designed to find out what works and what isn’t working and ways for improvement.  We strongly encourage educational contexts to build upon their strengths. The surveys can be used in conjunction with normal data gathering cycles and may be useful in informing evidenced-based student and staff engagement discussions. The educational community can then consider how to collate, share, analyse and respond to the data and we suggest that existing committee structures could be used so a focus on wellbeing  becomes an embedded way of working.

 

Summary

This chapter explored the ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing using evidence based and contextual self-assessment as a means of understanding the concept of wellbeing from an individual, educational context, and system level, and challenges educational communities to review what is occurring within their context. Research clearly highlights the importance of a whole of context approach on wellbeing. As authors and educators, we hope that the material shared within this text has been useful in furthering your understanding of wellbeing and in offering suggestions for the development and implementation of a whole education context wellbeing program and focus.

 

References

Armitage, D., Béné, C., Charles, A., Johnson, D., & Allison, E. (2012). The interplay of well-being and resilience in applying a social-ecological perspective. Ecology and Society, 17 (4).  doi:10.5751/ES-04940-170415

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing {DHA}. (2014). Understanding mental health in early childhood. Retrived from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/DoHA-MedicareMOU

Bowes, J.M. & Hayes, A. (1999). Children, families and communities: Contexts and consensus. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/publications/parenting-australian-families/2-parenting-and-socio-cultural-context

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1995). Developmental psychology through space and time. In P. Moen, G. Elder Jr & K. Luscher (Eds.), Examining lives in context, (pp. 619-647). Washington DC: American Psychological Association Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (2004). Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (2005). Ecological systems theory. In U. Bronfenbrenner (Ed.), Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human development, (pp. 106-173). Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications.

Darling, N. (2007). Ecological systems theory: The person in the center of the circles. Research in Human Development, 4 (3-4), 203-217. doi: 10.1080/15427600701663023

Deanon, B. (2013). The biomedical model of mental disorder: A critical analysis of its validity, utility, and effects on psychotherapy research. Clinical Psychology Review, 33 (7), 846-861. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.09.007

Department of Education and Skills Health Service Executive and Department of Health {DESHSEDH}. (2013). Well-Being in post-primary schools:  Guidelines for mental health promotion and suicide prevention. Dublin, Ireland: Department of Education and Skills, Health Service Executive, and Department of Health.

Garrison, R.  (2011). E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

George, A., Scott, K., Surekha, G., Shinjini, M., Rajani, V. & Kabir, S. (2015). Anchoring contextual analysis in health policy and systems research: A narrative review of contextual factors influencing health committees in low- and middle-income countries. Social Science & Medicine, 133, 159-167.

Kidger, J., Gunnell, D., Biddle, L., Campbell, R., & Donovan, J. (2010). Part and parcel of teaching? Secondary school staff’s views on supporting student emotional health and well‐being. British Educational Research Journal, 36 (6), 919-935.

Layton, N. A., & Steel, E. J. (2015). An environment built to include rather than exclude me: Creating inclusive environments for human well-being. International journal of environmental research and public health, 12(9), 11146-11162.

Smith, B. N., Montagno, R. V., & Kuzmenko, T. N. (2004). Transformational and servant leadership: Content and contextual comparisons. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 10 (4), 80-91. doi:10.1177/107179190401000406

Spencer, M.B. (2007). Phenomenology and ecological systems theory: Development of diverse groups. In W. Damon and R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology, (pp.696- 740). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. doi: 10.1002/9780470147658.

Weare, K. & Nind, M. (2011). Mental health promotion and problem prevention in schools: what does the evidence say? Health Promotion International, 26 (1), 29-69. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dar075

White, S.C. (2010). Analysing wellbeing: a framework for development practice. Development in Practice, 20 (2), 158-172. doi: 10.1080/09614520903564199

World Health Organisation {WHO}. (2013). Mental health action plan for 2013-2020. Retrieved from       http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/89966/1/9789241506021_eng.pdf?ua=1

Wu, J. & David, J. L. (2002). A spatially explicit hierarchical approach to modelling complex ecological systems: theory and applications. Ecological Modelling, 153 (1-2), 7-26. doi:10.1016/S0304-3800(01)00499-9

7

Conclusion

Susan Carter and Cecily Andersen

Photograph of joyously creating with paint by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexel

 

In this text ‘Wellbeing in Educational Contexts’ we have encouraged readers to to look at what is occurring in your educational context, remembering there are many ways to view the same picture, (e.g., seeing the joyous colours and expressions or the cleanup required after the painting) depending upon which lens is used and what assumptions unpin thinking and behaviour. We have endeavoured to synthesize  some  current research that links to educational contexts and make a new contribution to the field by presenting a model “Growing Inclusive Wellbeing” and possible templates that can help guide educational contexts to formulate their own wellbeing framework that is based upon evidence-based practice.

 

In chapter one we charted a possible way of meaning making through engaging with the text and prior knowledge. In chapter two we explored various theoretical conceptualisations of wellbeing using the guiding question: what is wellbeing? In chapter three we presented policy, frameworks and legislation that has informed the emphasis on wellbeing using the guiding question: how is wellbeing enacted? In chapter four we outlined possible impactors and enablers to wellbeing through the guiding question: how is wellbeing enhanced? In chapter five we explored ways of embedding an education wide focus on wellbeing using the guiding question: how is wellbeing enacted and embedded? In the final chapter we explored the ecological and contextual analysis of wellbeing in relation to a workplace wellbeing framework through the guiding question: how can wellbeing be enacted and promoted in my context? We also presented resources for use in educational contexts.

 

We sincerely hope that the material presented has been useful to readers in deepening their knowledge of wellbeing and also in providing some guidance into how a framework can be developed and then wellbeing embedded.