Student Wellbeing: A New Zealand Perspective
This paper reports on the delivery of a Professional Development programme to support schools in the endeavor to develop resilient young people. Through this Government initiative schools in New Zealand are supported to provide students with a range of learning opportunities that focus on the mental health and well-being of the whole school. Students become actively involved using techniques that help them to develop resiliency and an awareness of the deeper health issues that face young people in today's world. They come to understand that feeling positive about school through building strong learning skills, developing quality relationships and taking an active part in making decisions can greatly improve their chances of doing well in their lives. Current research shows that students who are able to connect to their family, friends, and other people, such as teachers, develop resilience and are then able to cope with adversity more successfully than those who feel a sense of isolation. When students are in touch with their community and culture and are confident about their own identity, they can develop the resilience to keep reaching out and making connections to other people and to new ideas, even when this is challenging. The professional learning for teachers incorporates in-school mentoring, and workshops that focus on enhancing students' personal identities, building relationships, examining the choices and consequences of drug use, and addressing stereotypes and discrimination. This workshop provides opportunities to participate in some of the learning experiences that form part of the workshops and to learn more about the principles and approaches that underpin this initiative.
Keywords: Student Wellbeing, Resiliency, Education
Contract Director, School Support Services, The University of Waikato