Research Project: ‘Stories of Whole School Wellbeing: Exploring narratives of experience’

I recently completed a research project as part of the Masters of Teaching degree at Deakin University’s School of Education.

Here is the abstract:

Researchers talk about whole school approaches to student wellbeing in a variety of ways, yet little work has been done to understand how different stories of wellbeing impact school wellbeing staff. To inform broader projects addressing these issues, this paper uses narrative methods to uncover how Student Wellbeing Coordinator’s (SWCs) narratives are related to – and diverge from – different explanatory stories of whole-school wellbeing. Cahill’s (2015) research into understanding student wellbeing through metaphors has been used to frame how SWCs’ narratives are influenced by key explanatory stories found in the literature. Semi-structured interviews with two SWCs in Melbourne metropolitan government schools were conducted. It found that while SWCs primarily drew from one explanatory story to talk about their approach to whole-school wellbeing, they view the field as complex and interconnected. They seek to make sense of their school context by identifying and responding to the needs of their communities. This finding enables SWCs to confidently move beyond single explanatory stories, authoring narratives that open up divergent possibilities for the wellbeing of the school and the individuals within it. From this exploratory study, a complementary metaphor of the Forest emerged as a potential representation of these SWCs’ narratives of wellbeing. Further research that potentially dives deeper into the relationship between teacher’s narratives and their influence on actual practice is needed.

Get in touch if you would like a copy of the full paper!


* Cahill, H 2015, ‘Approaches to understanding youth wellbeing’, in Wyn, J and Cahill, H (eds), Handbook of children and youth studies, 1st ed. Melbourne: Springer.

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