Education is vital for wellbeing; it is not simply about preparing for a job, but is a preparation for life. Plus, as we all know, learning can be a life-long adventure that does not stop once you leave school. Here at the Network of Wellbeing (NOW) we are planning to run a short series of blogs in late August and early September, which will explore the connections between wellbeing and education. As part of this series, we will also be partnering with #teacher5adayslowchat – an active online discussion about teacher wellbeing.  

Student wellbeing

We are interested to explore how schools, colleges and other learning environments integrate wellbeing into their curriculum and their culture – both formally and informally. This could involve offering students the opportunity to learn about what makes them happy and well, plus encouraging students to see themselves as agents with capabilities to manage their mental health and improve their lives.

Places of learning should always be caring and supportive, and ideally should offer opportunities to put learning in to practice, as well as providing an appropriate level of challenge to bring out initiative and creativity. This requires pupils becoming aware of their own needs and boundaries and being able to express them.

Teacher wellbeing – #teacher5adayslowchat

Wellbeing in the education system is not only about student wellbeing, but teacher’s wellbeing too; indeed, these can be seen as different sides of the same coin. This is why #teacher5adayslowchat is so valuable; offering teachers a space to share views, ideas and evidence on how they implement the Five Ways to Wellbeing in their lives and work.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing were developed by the New Economics Foundation (nef), and are a set of evidence-based actions which promote people’s wellbeing. They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. These activities are simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives, and they are proving a helpful tool to help teachers to think through the relationship between wellbeing and their work.

You can participate in the active online discussions on this topic in week beginning Monday 29th August, using the hash tag #teacher5adayslowchat on Twitter. Full details of content to expect can be found here.

Wider societal wellbeing

More broadly, education and learning are lifelong pursuits that are clearly of value for our personal and social wellbeing. Understanding ones own wellbeing at school gives one the skills for contributing to community and organsational wellbeing in adulthood. And ongoing learning at any stage of life can offer awareness, opportunity, insight and connection, as well as training that can be useful vocationally.

Building an awareness of deeper values in to education systems and learning practices is also important. Values-led behavior, design and action are a part of making a contribution to ones own wellbeing and the wellbeing of our communities and the world around us. (For those interested in the topic of values, check out upcoming World Values Day happening in October).

Any system of education or learning should be built upon the underlying understanding that people’s wellbeing depends in part on the wellbeing of the community and society in which they live and the environment on which they depend.

We hope our series on education and wellbeing will effectively explore and provoke discussion on the topics raised here, and the many other ways in which education and wellbeing are connected.

Get involved!

There are lots of ways for you to get involved in this series on education and wellbeing:

  • Find out more about the plans for #teacher5adayslowchat here;
  • Get in touch with comments or suggestions on education and wellbeing;
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates;
  • Share your reflections on the topics raised in this post in the comments section below;
  • Keep an eye out on our blog week beginning 29th August for more content exploring the connection between wellbeing and education.

Credits for images shared in this post: Image 1 via Martyn Reah. Image 2 via Chris Jones