Ngā Matapakinga | Discussion

    CORE Education
    Ten Trend: Wellbeing
    28 June
    Public discussion Created by CORE Education

    Wellbeing explanation

    Ten trends wedgeWhat’s this Trend all about?

    As a nation, sadly we see rising statistics around; high rates of mental distress, substance abuse, suicide, anxiety for children and young people, as well as workplace bullying. Some of the research is alarming and can no longer be ignored. The government is well aware of ongoing social and economic issues, and has recently released a wellbeing budget strategy to address the wellbeing of those most at risk. 


    So what does wellbeing mean in an educational context?                                

    Wellbeing is a concern for both learners, teachers and any adult that works with our young people in schools. While it’s recognised that student / ākonga wellbeing is linked to learning, and is vital for their success; it is also important to take the time to focus on the wellbeing of teachers as well. The success of our schools is intrinsically linked to the engagement, performance and wellbeing of the staff. As a result, there is a stronger move by increasing numbers of schools and clusters to explore what wellbeing means for their staff and students practically day-to-day (Ten Trends 2019, P56).


    As a result, there is a stronger move by increasing numbers of schools and clusters to explore what wellbeing means for their staff and students practically day-to-day.  (Ten Trends 2019, P56)

    What’s driving the change?


    In additional to the growing influence of technology, several factors are driving this change including:        

    • Exponential change: We are living in a complex age of uncertainty, volatility and change.
    • Workload issues: Stress, and work-related mental health issues increasingly threatening human functioning.
    • Destigmatising of mental health: Our national wellbeing is dependent on open and honest discussions around addressing mental health issues.
    • Productivity: Strategies to address wellbeing in the workplace see employers introducing incentives to help increase productivity
    • Resource inequality: Growing inequities of health and income have far reaching implications across the whole of society
    • Environmental action: Educating our young people about sustainable practices for healthy living is increasingly important

    Ara Simmons

    What examples can we see? A facilitated approach by Ara Simmons, Facilitator CORE Education

    Snapshot A) Primary school, Auckland. After seeing some staff ‘struggle’ in his school, the principal has been focused on improving the wellbeing of all teachers. At the beginning of the year, teachers were introduced to the science of wellbeing. Since then, a wellbeing team has been established where key staff are now being coached to support others in the school. Term Two, staff attended a resiliency workshop where the focus was on strategies to employ when things got challenging. Each term, staff have been encouraged to audit their own wellbeing and choose support from a range of strategies, which include; identifying strengths in each other, gratitude and savouring the moment. The principal and wellbeing team continues to collect information from the staff around planning, assessment etc which inform the next wellbeing staff meeting in Term Three. The principal and wellbeing team continues to collect information from the staff around planning, assessment etc which inform the next wellbeing staff meeting in Term Three.


    Happy young peopleSnapshot B) Mataura Primary school, Gore. Factors influencing this school include; the removal of National Standards, living in a complex world, how we engage in social media and local employment challenges. The school is also mindful of the state of national wellbeing (suicide rates) and want to adopt positive psychology strategies to address wellbeing, rather than leaving it to someone else to pick up the piecesThe lead teacher Shona Willis has created a google site digital resource that contains wellbeing ideas and activities for both for staff and students. The school is currently being supported with a strategic plan for wellbeing and the staff are developing shared understandings around wellbeing to help design wellbeing initiatives for students. Term Three’s initiative will be a focus on kindness.


    Snapshot C) Secondary school, Auckland. Seeing high levels of students with anxiety, this school has established a wellbeing team (DP, school counsellor and HOD Health) and are in-turn being supported to develop a whole-school wellbeing strategic plan; this involves actions of support for both staff and students. Initiatives for student wellbeing include; celebrating activities that students are actively involved in and ‘accentuating’ those further.

    Also see an example of wellbeing initiatives in action at Christchurch Girls High, from Grow Waitaha, Collaborative inquiry in a secondary school: Part 1


    Liz McDowell, Assistant Head of Social Sciences and eLearning coordinator describes a collaborative teaching as inquiry in a secondary school; to support student wellbeing and agency

    How can the wellbeing trend be introduced/used in your school? 

    The wellbeing trend speaks to the need of addressing both student wellbeing and support for teacher wellbeing. You can help to develop a greater sense of wellbeing in your school/kura by: 

    • Researching other schools where wellbeing has been identified as a key focus area for development. 
    • Collecting student/teacher voice about wellbeing in your school/kura. For example, anonymous surveys. 
    • Leading open discussions around wellbeing for all by using question prompters from Ten Trends 2019, p 60.
    • Co-constructing strategy/systems for student and teacher wellbeing
    • Seeking additional support from mentors and wellbeing programmes, for example accessing facilitators like Ara Simmons and programmes like the Wellbeing Toolkit.

    Being in a mindful state - ready to teach and learn is hugely important for us all. It is up to each and everyone one of us to take responsibility for initiating actions that support and improve wellbeing for all our teachers and learners. What might inspire you to initiate a wellbeing action or strategy going forward?

    You have two minutes on a virtual soapbox. What speaks to you most about wellbeing? Where do you see the greatest impact on wellbeing for your students and/or teachers could come from? Simply join the CORE Ten Trends group to contribute below.
    Want to know more?

    wellbeing toolkitMake contact with Ara Simmons (Facilitator CORE Education).

    Educator's wellbeing tookit

    Find out more about the Educator's wellbeing tookit. Kei ngā ihu oneone o tēnā kura, o tēnā puna mātauranga, manatu mai rā ki tēnei kaupapa tautoko i te ora. Mauri mahi, mauri ora!

    The two key aims of this programme are to:

    1.   Support the personal wellbeing of staff by providing opportunities

    to develop mindsets and behaviours to support themselves through

    challenging situations -  as well as exploring a variety of tools and


    2.   Participate in facilitated conversations to build whole staff wellbeing

    through collaborative conversations (social capital).  


    Feedback from participants indicates the strength of this programme is:

    ·      the flexible approach of the delivery model

    ·      the practical strategies and support for staff to deal proactively with

    day-to-day situations

    ·      the respectful conversations built from a growing awareness of one another.


    See CORE Education website for more or contact Kath Delahunty

    You might also like...               


    Wellbeing for success: a resource for schools 

    Avonside Girls' High School – Wellbeing programme Grow Waitaha 

    For more research and examples of wellbeing strategy in action, see P58/59/61 of Ten Trends 2019


    Happy people by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


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