I came across this fascinating article in “The International Educator” that is very poignant for the current conversations taking place on Wellbeing, especially among International Schools. In this article Mark G. Harrison, Stephen E. Chatelier and Elke M. Van Dermijnsbrugge are discussing what is meant by “wellbeing” in schools, situating its current rise within the context of a broader school culture. They then go on to suggest that when wellbeing becomes a task for teachers to perform within a culture of accountability and customer satisfaction, rather than something deeply connected to the human relations of care, its achievement is unlikely and, indeed, an increased focus on wellbeing might even be detrimental. Wellbeing has become without a doubt an area of ever increasing focus for schools across the world. Given that teaching has generally been understood as a caring profession, this may not come as a surprise. And, given that the apparent need for wellbeing interventions has arisen amongst the most “developed” and wealthy, this new focus may especially be seen as something to celebrate for international schools that continue to largely serve the privileged. A consequence of this, however, is that wellbeing seems to have become an addition to the ever-growing list of things for which teachers are responsible. The article investigates how and why an outcome- and performance-driven climate of accountability, and a reshaping of the traditionally relational role of a teacher into a narrower and more technical function can lead to reconfiguration that distorts even that which is intended to be caring, such as Wellbeing initiatives. The authors argue that for the situation to change and focus to be shifted where it matters, the key change that needs to take place is for schools to prioritize relationships over tasks, outcomes, metrics and programs - especially those focused on wellbeing! You can read the full article here.
(This post is by Megan Brazil, Elementary School Principal, United Nations International School, Hanoi. The post was first published online in 2016.) In a ‘silo schools’ approach, teachers have generally been left to work independently on collecting, understanding and using their own classroom data to make decisions about instruction, planning and assessment. Many schools have not yet made the successful transition from individual to collaborative: to enable teams of teachers to collectively analyze learning data in order to improve learning outcomes for all students. What we know to be true in many schools is that teachers still spend a disproportionate amount of time planning instruction, but don’t place the same emphasis or effort on finding out if the instruction really worked. Perhaps then, less importance has been placed on finding time for teams of teachers, coaches and administrators to take a look at the ‘back end’ — the learning that has taken place as a result of the planni