Exploring influences on student teachers’ learning to engage with health and wellbeing in the classroom

Donna Dey, Shirley Gray, Louise Campbell, Deborah Holt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Aims: Health and wellbeing has been identified as an underpinning requirement for effective teaching and learning in many education systems. In some curricula internationally, supporting health and wellbeing has been articulated as an integral aspect of teachers’ professional skills. This research investigated what and how student teachers learned about supporting and promoting health and wellbeing on a PGDE programme.

Methods: Participants were student teachers from two teacher education institutions preparing to teach in secondary schools. Data was gathered via focus group interviews. Preliminary inductive analysis was followed by focused coding and thematic analysis.

Main Findings: Findings highlight that the development of positive relationships with pupils became a crucial aspect of engaging with health and wellbeing for participants, and an ongoing priority for their future practice. There was an emphasis on the value of learning about teachers’ health and wellbeing practice from practicum contexts, though it was recognised that university-based learning offered helpful orientation for these experiences. The role of prior learning, from a range of life experiences before entering teacher education, was also valued. The central impetus was the idea of an ethics of care, where it is the teacher’s responsibility to meet the relational needs of the pupil (Noddings, 2012) before all other considerations.

Conclusions: Although exactly what and how these student teachers learned about engaging with health and wellbeing during their ITE programme was difficult to determine, this research has enabled us to better understand the elements of participants’ learning experiences that were meaningful to them.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2022
EventScottish Education Research Association 2022: Reconnecting educational research, policy and practice - University of West of Scotland, Ayr
Duration: 23 Nov 202225 Nov 2022
https://www.sera.ac.uk/ (Conference website)


ConferenceScottish Education Research Association 2022
Abbreviated titleSERA 2022
Internet address


  • Teacher education
  • health and wellbeing
  • Relationships
  • Ethic of Care


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