What can we learn about wellbeing in school?

Anne Kathryn Soutter
2011 The Journal of Student Wellbeing  
In recent years, the term wellbeing has become more common as an explicit educational aim. Despite its frequent use, it is often broadly applied, and rarely explicitly defined. Typically, wellbeing is described in education policy in ways that align conceptual pairings common in political discourse, including wealth, health, and happiness. Given the attention wellbeing is receiving by politicians around the world, this is an important time to consider if common uses of the term are relevant to
more » ... rm are relevant to and resonate with those in the school context, particularly amongst those on the cusp of entry into their adult lives. Here, I present data collected over a three day teaching and learning event in which students were invited to share their understandings of wellbeing as they worked to accomplish tasks related to their school examinations. Soutter, Gilmore, & O'Steen's (2010) framework for wellbeing served as the conceptual lens through which data were analysed. The central finding to emerge was that wellbeing is conceptualised by students as a multi-dimensional, complex construct that holds both instrumental and intrinsic value for them as individuals, but that educational experiences did not play a prominent role in their visual or verbal communication about wellbeing. Through the discussion, this paper attempts to "create space" to consider wellbeing's role in the senior secondary context.
doi:10.21913/jsw.v5i1.729 fatcat:tie363yz4ncatfx6tef572tue4