Supporting teacher wellbeing



last term from the charter college reteaching we ran a well-being course that you had designed and written based on research would you like to tell us please about the research that you use to design that course yes you're a suppose first of all I should say that I ran the program with Dennis Kiley Dennis is an educational psychologist child and adolescent psychologist well the research that informed the program worked in different ways really so first of all wellbeing itself we have to accept is a really contested construct it's very complex the research you might look at research which would suggest that well-being can be measured and there are dashboards for measurement that exist and you can look at research that says it is a fluid constructor that's culturally located and therefore will be conceptualized differently within different cultures so we looked at what well-being is in terms of the research and then participants on the program were given five research articles to choose from articles that conceptualize was well-being in different ways so for example one paper one research paper looked at mental health as an aspect of well-being in relation to teachers another looked at issues around spiritual well-being holistic well-being and conceptualized that way another piece of research looked at staff well-being and student performance another piece of research looked at pupil well-being and teacher well-being and how they're interrelated and so it continued and people were asked to look at that so there were actual articles to look at from which you could start to begin to frame well-being in a particular way and then there was work around in hard thinking around what is well-being what isn't it and which what we tried to do Dennis and I tried to do was make sure it was grounded in people's lived experience so there's no off-the-shelf charter college well-being program at Denison Tim's well-being one-size-fits-all program it was nothing like that in fact one of the participants said they felt it was the first I was very much like a master's program really where you came with you're thinking that was validated then it was challenged and then you started to rethink again and then it was challenged again because it led to a particular outcome at the end of the day so the food from people who participated in the pilot was amazing it really was in some cases very moving actually can you go on to describe a bit more about what the course actually entails and also just to say you know we took the decision as a charter college to roll the program out into the opportunity areas thinking that colleagues in those areas goodness you know they're doing such brilliant work under very difficult circumstances so just really like you to explain a bit for people watching to think would they like to join in what this might involve all the way sure well the first thing I'd say there is that and I'm sure you'd agree really it's not just in the opportunity areas where people are doing teachers doing outstanding work that there are teachers in rural schools there are teachers in schools in deprived areas teachers work with children have life limiting conditions you could yeah obviously but what I would like to make that point because it's relevant to well being but the program itself works there's a day where we meet and we we do some of the work that I talked to talk to you about earlier about what well-being is and is not and then we look at it in a in a context and we we have people it was fascinating really because we had people ranging from headteachers to people one of the people have been teaching two years and then we had colleagues from alternative provision special law specialists provision depending on how you define it secondary mainstream independent sector as a whole range of people and so therefore there are multiple conceptualizations of what well-being is so we look all the way through at what that is for people we look at some of the research obviously and then we ask people to design an intervention or an action in their own workplace having reflected and what does well-being mean to them and then there's a five-week gap where that action research takes place during that time Dennis and I are available all the way through for any questioning we also ask what would you like the content to be for the final day because we don't just want to do 20 presentations on well-being interventions so we construct the content for day two in between day one and day two so it's relevant to the people there and then people come back and feedback on what their interventions were whether they worked or not because sometimes they don't work and why they don't work highly relevant and they're shared with each other and the plan is to share them on the college website with other colleagues and members of the charter college and so what I think is really interesting about what you're saying is that you know you're bringing your expertise together with Dennis responding to the teachers responding to your knowledge of the research and tailoring the program accordingly and that's what's so important for us at the charter college that we this is not just CPD off the shelf this is about how do we really learn from and with the profession yeah well I think that if we think of the you say the profession if we think of the profession itself from my perspective I mean this is my perspective teachers for decades have had enforced changed change placed upon them they have an immense commitment to make it work and then things change again and again and again it would have a big impact on agency which is linked to well-being because that's all done without consultation so you have that and then you have again from my perspective a data industry in education that creates not an accountability system because I Dennis and I did some research for the shot at college where teachers were saying they have no issue with accountability but it creates a hyper accountability system so you have teachers in a state of manic vigilance stresses generated anxieties generated guilties generated good enough is never good enough and all of those sorts of things have a huge impact on teacher well-being and and it's not been taken seriously enough and I think that what this program is starting a very small step on a journey of doing is to say we need to look very carefully and what does well-being mean for teachers and how can we improve teacher well-being so thank you so much for designing this program I'm really pleased that the charter college is able to subsidize this going forward and that we're looking for some research funding to see if we can really dig deeper into something that looks very interesting for the profession thank you – oh no you're welcome Dennis and I have really enjoyed it and I really look forward to seeing more colleagues on it Thanks

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