08 SES 07, Pupils' Views on School Wellbeing and Teachers' Health Work
The subjective well-being of children, that is, their own experience and assessment of the quality of their life (Diener 2000; Diener, Oishi & Lucas 2009; Diener, Suh, Lucas & Smith 1999), has become an essential part of the child welfare research. In determining the state of well-being, a subjective assessment is as important as data produced by various external indicators, such as infant mortality and morbidity (Bradshaw, Hoelscher & Richardson 2007). Although the significance of involvement and hearing of the child’s voice has been increasingly emphasized in the 21st century, the well-being of the child has still been explored on the basis of adults’ perspective of what well-being is (Fattore, Mason & Watson 2012).
For decades, the same phenomenon has also been evident in debates about Finnish school wellbeing, which does not adequately take into account the right of the child to be involved, and the pupils' experience of school wellbeing (Pulkkinen 2015, 28). The Finnish Child Welfare Act (417/2007) and the related Pupil and Student Welfare Act (1287/2013) emphasize that the children's and young people's welfare plan should describe the activities that promote the wellbeing of children and young people. Pupils' views on the factors that construct school welbeing could serve as an important source of information when drawing up the plan (definition of welfare goals and solutions) and subsequent evaluation of it.
In this presentation, we focus on subjective school wellbeing, that is, the children's own view of what kind of a school they would like to be. In the life of a child, the school is one of the most important growth environments besides the family. In addition to the perceived health and general life satisfaction, school wellbeing is an important aspect of children's subjective well-being (Adams 2013; Ben-Arieh, McDonell & Attar-Schwartz 2009; Bradshaw et al., 2007; Bradshaw & Richardson 2009).
Data was collected in three schools in Central Finland by interviewing 63 children in total from classes 3, 6 and 7. Before the interview, children participated in a drawing task that encouraged them to consider what well-being in school consists of. The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Four broad themes reflecting children’s definition of school well-being were identified: 1) a school’s structural conditions (variety of school work; organization of school work; dining at school; physical conditions of school and way to school), 2) preconditions for autonomy and self-determination (participation; age appropriate care; experience of being accepted), 3) preconditions for being together (safe from bullying; commitment to the rules; good social relationship; social cohesion), and 4) conditions for learning (teacher as a professional; taking into account individual needs; discipline; workload of school work). The main findings of this study were that children see their own well-being as a multidimensional phenomenon and are able to describe it in broad and meaningful ways. The perspectives of children can and should be used as a basis for concrete actions to promote well-being in schools. Pupils 'perceptions of school wellbeing are closely linked to the current educational policy debate on pupils' involvement (Ombudsman for Children's Annual Report 2016), a flexible school day (Ombudsman for Children's Annual Report 2016, Pulkkinen 2015), school load (Ombudsman for Children's Annual Report 2016, Välijärvi 2017) and child's right to a safe school environment.
Adams, K. 2013. Childhood in crisis? Preceptions of 7–11-year-olds on being a child and the implications for education’s well-being agenda. Education 3-13. International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education 41 (5), 523–537. Ben-Arieh, A., McDonell, J. & Attar-Schwartz, S. 2009. Safety and home-school relations as indicators of children well being: Whose perspective counts? Social Indicators Research 90 (3), 339–349. Bradshaw, J., Hoelscher, P. & Richardson, D. 2007. An index of child well-being in the European Union. Social Indicators Research 80 (1), 133–177. Bradshaw, J. & Richardson, D. 2009. An index of child well-being in Europe. Child Indicators Research 2 (3), 319–351. Diener, E. 2000. Subjective well-being. The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist 55 (1), 34–43. Diener, E., Oishi, S. & Lucas, R. E. 2009. Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and life satisfaction. Teoksessa C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (toim.) Oxford handbook of positive psychology. Oxford Library of Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 187–194. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E. & Smith, H. L. 1999. Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin 125 (2), 276–302. Fattore, T., Mason, J. & Watson, E. 2012. Locating the child centrally as subject in research: Towards a child interpretation of well-being. Child Indicators Research 5 (3), 423–435. Ombudsman for Children's Annual Report 2016: Eriarvoistuva koulu? Lapsiasiavaltuutetun toimiston julkaisuja 2016:1. Ombudsman for Children's Annual Report 2017: Onko lapsella oikeusturvaa? Lapsiasiavaltuutetun toimiston julkaisuja 2017:1. Pulkkinen, L. 2015. Innostava koulupäivä: Ehdotus joustavan joulupäivän rakenteen vakiinnuttamiseksi. Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön työryhmämuistioita ja selvityksiä 2015:6. Välijärvi, J. 2017. PISA 2015 – Oppilaiden hyvinvointi. Jyväskylän yliopisto. Koulutuksen tutkimuslaitos
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