Tag Archives: well-being and children

First Class: Tracking wellness

I (Clare) am following this amazing new blog Eureka Research: Exploring Wellness through digital techniques: http://eurekaresearch.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/first-class-tracking-wellness/
This recent post is about the guidance counsellor who is working with secondary school students to track their wellness and well-being using a number of on-line tools. Wow! This is an amazing use of technology and from the photos it seems the students are very much engaged. I look forward to reading updates on the work and study of the on-line tools.

eureka research

I am in the middle of running my five classes on using a website to track moods, goals, tips, etc.  The website is called Facingus.org and what I like about it is that it is hands on and interactive. Students explored for parts of the site:  Journal, Wellness Tracker, Wellness Plan and Wellness Book (Tips).  This took almost the full hour to explore.  Students wrote for 5 minutes in the online journal – some where very engaged and some struggled quite a bit. I did catch a couple of students reading a book on their laps!  I did also have a couple of students asking if they could have more time to write 🙂

For the Wellness Tracker, I had them focus on three aspects – Well-being (track daily), Symptoms (track daily and weekly) and Lifestyle (track daily).  What I liked about this section, is that there were a lot…

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Mental Health Education in Teacher Education

Earlier this week I  (Yiola) participated in a Webinar on the teaching of mental health in teacher education. The webinar was called: Reading, Writing, Resiliency: A Briefing on the State of Teacher Education Toward Positive Mental Health.

This post is connected to Shelley’s recent post on Supporting Student Well-being through Mindfulness Practices as it looks closely at what Teacher Education programs are doing to prepare teachers to teach about Mental Health and Wellness.  It was interesting to read Shelley’s blog and learn about what she does and how mindfulness as a form of mental health practices are developed in her course on Special Education. I would love to hear what other teacher educators and classroom teachers do to promote and teach about well-being.

During the webinar I learned some interesting facts:

– parents are concerned and interested to learn more about in 2 key areas related to mental health education: 1) Abuse and its effects on mental health (bullying, emotional abuse, exclusion);  2) Health (depression, substance abuse)

– after (parents and) doctors, teachers are the next care professionals in line who are expected to address children’s mental health

– There is a gap between the strong perception of teachers responsibilities for addressing issues of mental health and their preparedness to do so

In a study conducted on mental health teaching in teacher education in Canada, over 400 courses in 66 teacher education programs were examined against 4 criteria. The 4 criteria were related to the following: course title, words in the course description, topics in the course outlines, practices and relationships. The findings showed that only 2 of the 400 courses met all 4 criteria for the inclusion of mental health learning; 23 courses met 3 of the 4 criteria, 84 courses met 2 of the criteria and 104 courses met just 1 criteria.   This finding suggests that there is very little by way of teaching mental health issues in teacher education programs.

From the study 5 recommendations were made: 1) all teacher education programs should include at least 1 course that focuses on fostering postive mental health and resiliency; 2) classroom management courses reflect proactive resiliency oriented strategies; 3) in-service opportunities need to be available to practicing classroom teachers; 4) provincial curriculum should identify outcomes for health education; and, 5) mental health and resiliency outcomes should be in grades K-12 curriculum.

The webinar was helpful in outlining where we stand today in teacher education and mental health teaching.  I am very keen on thinking about how to move forward in teacher education programming.  Mental health and resiliency content can and should in included in many courses including but not limited to: all curriculum areas (i.e. literacy, social studies, math, health and physical education); special education, methods (i.e. classroom environment, classroom management, collaborative practices).  There needs to be a shift in foci, moving beyond the traditional Health and Physical Education curriculum (i.e. the Healthy Living strand) into a more comprehensive way of thinking about well-being and resiliency.