Australia and Switzerland share the idea that schools must play an active role in fostering wellbeing in schools and many programs to address this have been implemented in both countries, Professor of Education Science at the University of Bern, Switzerland, Tina Hascher, said in her address to West Australian teachers, students, graduates and industry professionals at The University of Notre Dame Australia on Tuesday 22nd October.
Research from the National Union of Students and Headspace shows that almost 70 percent of students rate their mental health as either poor or fair ("Majority of Aussie students stressed, depressed | headspace", 2019). And what’s more, close to half of all newly qualified teachers leave the profession within five years due to high psychological distress. Therefore, the wellbeing of teachers and students is of paramount concern.
“Wellbeing is defined in so many different ways,” Professor Hascher says, “we often say that it is important to be in balance, but with wellbeing, the balance really has to be unequal in favour of the positive aspects.
“What we still need is good longitudinal research. What we see at the moment is that although wellbeing is not usually an immediate direct predictor of student outcomes in terms of grades and achievements, it does contribute to the ability to cope with motivational problems.”
Professor Hascher’s latest research looks into how schools may foster wellbeing and what is needed to better understand wellbeing in schools, for both students and teachers.
The evidence that wellbeing is related to teaching quality is currently uncertain and Professor Hascher believes further research is needed to fully understand the impacts.
“There is not so much research into teacher wellbeing, but it is often argued that teachers’ wellbeing affects the quality of teaching they provide,” Professor Hascher says.
The event, organised and hosted by Notre Dame’s School of Education, was a chance for Professor Hascher to share her thoughts on what she believes the potential solutions to this ongoing concern could be.
“Of course you can say very generally, ‘Dear Principals, please care about your students and your teachers’, but what does that really mean?
“We have to recognise if the achievement pressure is too high, we have to integrate the families into our children’s education – we have to be a school community.”
“The School of Education is delighted to be hosting Professor Hascher during her sabbatical,” the University’s Chair of College & Dean of Education Professor Caroline Mansfield says, “Wellbeing is a topic of wide interest for educators at all levels and complements our research in the fields of teacher resilience, adolescent success and service learning.
“Supporting the wellbeing of our students through pastoral care is central to our work as Notre Dame staff, and educators of the next generations of teachers.”
 Majority of Aussie students stressed, depressed | headspace. (2019). Retrieved 22 October 2019, from https://headspace.org.au/blog/majority-of-aussie-students-stressed-depressed/
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