Author: Whatman, Susan, Singh, Parlo, Main, Katherine, Low-Choy, Sama, Rose, Judy, Thopson, Roberta, Kearney, Judith
Type of paper: Abstract refereed
This paper reports on the first phase of a participatory action research (PAR) project which identifies and maps the mutually supportive relationships that exist between teacher and student wellbeing in disadvantaged schools in the South East Coast region of Queensland, Australia. Engaging in co-inquiry with a range of low socio-economic schools, twin questions frame the research approach 1) what are the core characteristics of schools that promote health and wellbeing in students and teachers? And 2) in what ways can schools be reconfigured to promote health and wellbeing in students and teachers? While the broader scope of the project maps the impact of these relationships upon student achievement (including attendance, engagement and learning outcomes and other achievement data) and teacher wellbeing (indicated by incidences of burnout, stress leave, transfer, teacher wellbeing survey data etc), this paper reports specifically on the role of physical education teachers as "wellbeing coaches" as framed by the Learning and Wellbeing policy of the Department of Education and Training. The theoretical framework draws upon well-regarded arguments around salutogenesis in health education (c.f. Quennerstedt, 2008; McCuaig & Quennerstedt, 2016) and practice architectures which enable and constrain school-based wellbeing practices (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008; Goodyear, Casey & Kirk, 2016). Drawing upon several case study schools, teacher understandings of teacher and student wellbeing and their reimagined professional role in enhancing wellbeing in neoliberal times (Macdonald, 2011) are discussed here, along with vignettes of their school- based initiatives.