Institute of Total Education
Teaching and Leading from the Heart and Soul


Student Well Being is Everyone's Concern

Friday, July 20, 2012

Education Queensland is about to launch its Well Being Framework which all schools will be expected to address. They are doing it in style with a barnstorming tour of the state by psychologist, Michael Carr-Gregg, who is well known in the media for his insights into adolescent health and well being. I am sure this will be valuable but it is important to build local capability to support student well being through our own doctors, psychologists, counsellors and teachers.

There has been growing concern in the community about student well being, especially adolescents, with issues like bullying, anxiety, depression, body image, eating disorders and self harm as well as underage drinking and drug use. Schools see the results of these problems on a daily basis in students inability to engage with learning and many teachers, trained with a purely academic focus, are ill equipped to manage the fall out.

Parental influence is so important in supporting children’s well being but they struggle with other influences like the peer group, the media and the ubiquitous internet. Parents need help with what to expect in adolescent behaviour and to realise the importance of staying involved with the lives of their almost adult children.

Schools for their part need to be places where kids experience a sense of connection and inclusion. The mainstream ethos of competition and adulation of winners must leave a lot of young people feeling like second-class citizens; uninvolved and disconnected.

It is great that Education Queensland is recognising the importance of student well being because it marks a broadening of the aims of education to be more holistic and to focus on the development of students as people and not just scholars. Schools need support from the rest of the community if this more rounded goal of education is to be realised.

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