Primary schooling and children's socio-emotional wellbeing: A Teacher's perspective

Year: 2007

Author: Brunker, Nicole

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Socio-emotional wellbeing has often been placed at the opposite end of the educational continuum to academic achievement thus at times creating an 'either/or' debate. As research has demonstrated the effectiveness of socio-emotional wellbeing to facilitate and predict academic achievement (Caprara et al., 2002; Catalano et al., 2004; Malecki & Elliot, 2002; Flook et al, 2005) it would appear there is no longer a need for such a debate. Attention should now focus on how schools may most effectively support socio-emotional wellbeing. Researchers have suggested that this requires whole school reform addressing curriculum, pedagogy and management (Weare, 2000, 2004). While Australia has placed socio-emotional wellbeing within the goals of schooling (MCEETYA, 1999), educational policy continues to relegate socio-emotional wellbeing to pockets of curriculum, social skills training and character education approaches. A "wide awakening" (Greene, 1978, pg 45) is needed, for schools to open the discussion on socio-emotional wellbeing. This paper outlines a small pilot study which utilised the methodology of portraiture to explore one teacher's perspective on socio-emotional wellbeing. The use of portraiture aims to draw both the participant and the reader into a process of reflection to prompt further development of primary schooling's role in children's socio-emotional wellbeing.