A Decade of Wellbeing Education: Implications for Schools During the Disruption and Recovery from COVID-19

This research seminar explores the impact of wellbeing education - a growing international change initiative - in schools. The COVID-19 pandemic has now accelerated the scale of this challenge, revealing knowledge gaps in education systems, wellbeing policies and approaches.

Mathew White

Key policy documents, including the National School Reform Agreement (Department of Education and Training, 2020) and the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report Action and Findings on Mental Health (2020), argue that education systems, structures, reporting requirements should be updated to position wellbeing education on an even footing with academic outcomes. Wellbeing education is defined as education for both traditional skills and flourishing. This seminar examines how wellbeing education has contributed to a change in schools and related curriculum issues. It draws on various studies from the past decade to evaluate wellbeing education definitions and examine two periods in wellbeing education research from 2009 - 2014 and 2015–2020. The seminar will argue that wellbeing education concepts may enrich education discourse and enhance teacher professional practice. Finally, the seminar calls for more culturally diverse case studies, supporting the greater integration of wellbeing science with teaching theory and practise.

Associate Professor Mathew White is Interim Head of the School of Education in the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics at the University of Adelaide. He is also the Program Director for the Master of Education and a principal fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Mathew’s next co-authored book with Professor Faye McCallum, Wellbeing Education and Professional Practice, will be published by Springer in 2022. Recent publications include Wellbeing and Resilience Education: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Education (with Faye McCallum, Routledge, 2021), Critical Perspectives on Teaching, Learning and Leadership: Enhancing Educational Outcomes (with Faye McCallum, Springer, 2020), Future Directions in Wellbeing: Education, Organisations and Policy (with Gavin Slemp and Simon Murray, Springer, 2017). Mathew was a secondary school teacher for 20 years and has a decade’s senior leadership-level experience in schools.

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