As reported in several national studies (e.g. Universities UK, MWBHE, 2015; Brown, P. 2016), UK universities are experiencing a crisis in student mental health and wellbeing. A prevalent issue that grows each year in higher educational settings, that includes the University of Warwick. The wellbeing of university students is inextricably linked to the learning experience provided by their academic institution. As WIHEA, we have endeavoured to create a resource that can beneficially influence student wellbeing at the University of Warwick. Additionally, the welfare of staff has not been ignored in the development and production of this project.
Previously, we have completed a project which researched into student wellbeing in the teaching and learning environment at the University of Warwick. The research was completed through focus groups which gave voice to staff and students alike. A copy of the report which summarises our findings can be found here.
Ultimately, our research revealed four key themes to enhancing student wellbeing while studying at Warwick. (i) Student-centred environment, (ii) a lack of intercultural and international integration, (iii) emotional intelligence and (iv) an intertwined connection between staff and student wellbeing.
These results have guided us in creating the backbone for this library and its subsequent content and categories; we believed that approaching the key themes identified by the Warwick community was the best of way for trying to aid the issue of wellbeing in the learning environment.
What is a Wellbeing Pedagogies Library?
The video a discussion between the Project Co-Leads, Dr Elena Riva (IATL) and Dr Claudie Fox (Psychology), and two of the Project Officers, Daniel Reed (Humanitarian Engineering MSc) and Zoë Nobileau (History BA). The conversation entails an explanation about the project's inception, the work and relative contributions, and also the objectives for how it can be used to benefit wellbeing in the learning environment. It also discusses the concept of Wellbeing Pedagogy and the relevance of thinking about wellbeing in the teaching and learning environment.
To create the Library's content, the Wellbeing Library Project Officers, in conjunction with the Wellbeing Pedagogies Learning Circle, invited an array of academics from faculties across the university to share their teaching strategies that are related to or attempt to address issues relating to the aforementioned key themes. To complement this research, students were also involved, using a friendship interview technique, to discuss their thoughts and strategies relating to the remit for this project.
How to use the Library
This video is a navigation guide for how to best utilise the webpage and content. Although, we encourage you to explore the various corners of the library to enjoy the variety of pedagogies we have captured.
In summary, the Library is divided in four main categories, in response to our earlier research: 1) Student-Centered environment, 2) International and intercultural integration, 3) Emotional intelligence and 4) Staff and Students Wellbeing.
Each category contains useful pedagogies and strategies that can respond to a recognised wellbeing issue (i.e. lack of international integration in the learning and teaching environment, etc.) or that can support the creation of a wellbeing-positive environment (i.e. how to create a student-mindful environment).
In addition to such categories, each pedagogy has been 'tagged' with useful information that can allow you to further filter them so you can find the right type of inspiration. These filters are: class-size (>100, <30, etc.), class level (First Year UG, PGT, etc.), class type (online, seminar, lecture, etc.), preparation time, time during the term (preparation, start, middle, end) and conditions to wellbeing promoted by the pedagogy (see below).
Do you wish to contribute?
Our Library is meant to be in continuous evolution and we wish to capture as many ideas as we can. Please, get in touch with Elena (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have a strategy you wish to share with our community. This is only the beginning!
10 Conditions to Wellbeing in the Teaching and Learning Environment
|Positive Classroom Culture||Creating an enjoyable and welcoming classroom culture can enhance positive well-being for students and instructors. This can be accomplished through connecting with students and deeply engaging them in their learning.|
Providing students with opportunities to make a valued contribution through their coursework can give them a boost to their emotional well-being.
|As teacher, you play an important role in setting a positive and supportive tone that can help students feel welcome and at ease.|
|Services and Supports||The in-class and online experience provides an important opportunity to connect students with resources that can support their personal well-being, resilience and readiness to learn.|
|Real Life Learning||
By connecting learning to life you offer students opportunities to build their personal skills and confidence in their future.
|Inclusivity||An inclusive learning environment demonstrates an intentional consideration for all students and in doing so, can enhance positive well-being.|
|Personal Development||Opportunities for personal and professional growth increase students’ skills, resilience and preparedness for the future.|
|Flexibility||Facilitating interaction helps students build social networks which foster resilience and are an asset to well-being. Interaction in the class can help create a sense of community and positive classroom culture.|
|Social Connection||Facilitating classroom interaction to help build social networks.|
|Optimal Challenge||Students perform and feel their best when they are challenged while having adequate resources to meet the challenge.|
Daniel Reed (BASc/MSc) (GSD/IATL)
Udokama Iwumene (BSc/MSc) (Engineering)
Zoë Nobileau (BA)