Crisis or catalyst? Examining COVID-19’s implications for wellbeing and resilience education

Mathew A. White and Faye McCallum


As governments across the globe introduced restrictions to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, educators scrambled to flatten the education impact curve (Reimers & Schleicher, 2020). In some parts of the world, schools remained open. Teachers developed hybrid models of online teaching with online face-to- face teaching (synchronous) or pre-recorded teaching material (asynchronous) or adopted fully online learning and teaching strategies (Hill et al., 2020; Viner et al., 2020). This book investigates the immediate impact of COVID-19 on education and educational systems from international perspectives and explores issues related to the future of schools, schooling and education. As Viner et al. (2020) and Zhu and Liu (2020) contend, we argue that COVID-19 has accelerated change and, in some cases, hastened improvements in several educational areas, recent publications by Harris (2020) investigate this from a school leadership lens, and Zhao (2020) boldly calls for schools to ‘reimagine and recreate human institutions’ (p. 1) in a post-COVID-19 world. In this book, we examine the influence of the pandemic through the themes of wellbeing and resilience. Various chapters investigate and discuss the impact on teachers and teachers’ work, initial teacher education, university responses to COVID-19, the role of wellbeing theory in progressing the field, data collected during the first wave of the pandemic, program enhancements and the perspective of refugee children.

In this chapter, we reflect on the immediate impact of COVID-19. This is then placed into an educational context by adapting Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological framework for human development as the theoretical framework for the chapter. Next, we explore the implications for teachers and teaching and students (La Velle et al., 2020). We present operational definitions of wellbeing and resilience for this book and reflect on related educational equity issues, as raised by Azevedo et al. (2020) and Bacher-Hicks et al. (2020). Health publications have developed various models to explain how public health measures flatten the health curve and effects of COVID-19, including various government restrictions (such as the Victorian State Government in Australia’s Stage 4 restrictions, which implemented a curfew between 8 pm and 5 am from 2 August 2020). This chapter proposes an education model to interpret the pandemic’s immediate impact during the first 10 months of the crisis. Our proposed model explores how educational institutions and systems (e.g. government departments, schools, universities and teachers) have sought to increase education capacity, adopt online learning and teaching strategies, modify curriculum, form hybrid teaching tools and shift modes of teaching. The model links current research on wellbeing and resilience education with issues related to student belonging and the unexpected and continuous mental health difficulties faced by students, teachers, school leaders and parents (Roman, 2020). Finally, we provide an overview of how this book was created and the details of each chapter.

COVID-19: the defining health crisis of our time

Before COVID-19, education already operated within multifaceted and complex state, national and international systems (Jacobson et al., 2019). The escalation of a global economy has driven competition among many nations, changing the social, political and economic landscapes and educational systems within these nations (Veugelers, 2020a, 2020b). Nevertheless, it appears that in less than 10 months, COVID-19 has systematically dismantled elements of globalisation not only in economic terms but also at a political, social and educational level (Douglas et ah, 2020). Recent publications argue that education, and initial teacher education specifically, ‘operate within a highly complex world that is mediated by multi-layered political, social and educational arenas’ (Alexander et ah, 2020, p. 3). What does this landscape look like now?

It is difficult to imagine that as people across the world celebrated New Year’s Eve, a burgeoning health crisis that would touch all aspects of life rapidly across the world was unfolding. On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Country Office in the People’s Republic of China became aware of a media release from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission about a cluster of‘viral pneumonia’ cases (ProMED, 2019). Within 24 hours, WHO activated its Incident Management Support Team (IMST) and requested more details (WHO, 2017). By 9 January 2020, WHO identified it as a new strain of coro- navirus, named COVID-19, and is now referred to by its official designation: SARS-CoV-2. In this book, we will refer to the pandemic as COVID-19. On 11 January 2020, the first death was recorded in China. By 13 January, the first case appeared in Thailand, then Japan; on 21 January, it reached the United States of America (the USA), and, by 24 January, it was in France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Looking back at the experiences learnt from earlier pandemics, including H1N1 and Ebola, WHO determined the new strategy. The growth of COVID-19 cases then began to accelerate throughout China, Europe and the Americas. On 26 March 2020, the WHO Director-General addressed an Extraordinary G20 Summit on COVID-19. At this stage, 500,000 people were infected, 20,000 deaths were recorded, and the virus was characterised as ‘the defining health crisis of our time’. By 4 April 2020, 1 million cases of COVID-19 were confirmed worldwide (WHO, 2020) escalating to over 100 million by January 2021 and climbing (Johns Hopkins University, 2021).

Health systems across the globe were overwhelmed, and, within the space of months, the broader social impacts of COVID-19 rapidly appeared as the world experienced the scale of the disaster (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], 2020). As reported in the media, there were immediate government recommendations and restrictions implemented at various stages across the world. These included practising good personal hygiene, physical distancing, limitations on the number of people in public gatherings, wearing face masks, mandatory isolation of those with COVID-19 and those suspected of having it, wide scale and in some instances free mobile testing clinics and quarantine (UNESCO, 2020; Viner et al., 2020; WHO, 2020). During the early months, there was widespread public concern over the pandemic, panic buying of many goods in supermarkets around March (Dave et al., 2020; Devi, 2020).

A crisis or catalyst for education

Is COVID-19 the defining education crisis or catalyst of our time? It is what Peters (2017) classifies as a wicked problem in public policy, which are ‘emerging policy problems that... [do] not correspond neatly to the conventional models of policy analysis used at the time’ (p. 385). What is less clear is whether COVID-19 has triggered an education crisis or is a catalyst for change (Refiners & Schleicher, 2020). For example, in a June 2020 report for McKinsey & Company, Dorn et al. (2020) present statistical modelling to investigate the impact of the pandemic on the US education system, and especially on low-income, black and Hispanic Americans (pp. 2-3). Dorn et al. (2020) hypothesise that the ‘COVID-19 closures will probably increase high-school drop-out rates (currently 6.5 percent for Hispanic, 5.5 percent for black, and 3.9 percent for white students, respectively)’ (p. 6). Similarly, in a report prepared for the World Bank Group, Azevedo (2020) explores the global impact of school closures due to the pandemic and contends that worldwide nearly 7 million students from primary up to secondary education could drop out due to the income shock of the pandemic alone. Students from the current cohort could, on average, face a reduction of $355, $872 or $1,408 in yearly earnings and ‘globally, a school shutdown of 5 months could generate learning losses that have a present value of $10 trillion’ (p. 1).

In an article, examining how school leaders are reforming education because of the pandemic, Harris (2020) uses a supernova metaphor for the impact of COVID-19: that is, the explosion of a star and largest explosion in space (NASA, 2018). For example, Harris (2020) notes that the growing discourse on COVID-19’s impact on education is ‘polarised’. There is discourse calling for a new normal in education that tends to be optimistic and buoyant, embracing the transition to online learning and the potential implications for teachers and students. Conversely, another discourse by Van Lancker and Parolin (2020) focuses on more entrenched systematic inequalities that exist within systems and sectors in education and how the pandemic has accelerated existing education crises. At the school leadership level, Harris (2020) reflects on the challenges faced by school leadership and provocatively examines whether school leadership is in crisis. Harris (2020) warns that ‘by treating COVID-19 as a short-term crisis, however, it has been proposed that an important opportunity to change schools and school systems for the better will be missed’. Yet Zhao (2011, 2012, 2015, 2020), who has previously called for the reform of education systems for 21st-century learning, asserts that this may be the opportunity education needs to advance and, deep in the system, move towards a fourth education revolution. For example, when we consider the rapid transition to fully online learning as a result of the pandemic, it has been seen that schools, universities and other learning providers have transitioned rapidly into online education in the space of weeks. In contrast, it has taken many years of comprehensive and considered change management processes to achieve the same outcome.

COVID-19 schooling, teaching and student wellbeing

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most significant disruptions to education globally since the Second World War (Azevedo, 2020). However, unlike earlier pandemics such as the Zika Virus, West African Ebola, H1N1, AIDS, Asian Flu, Polio and Spanish Flu, this disruption has taken place at the same time as students around the world have access to modern technologies that make them connected in ways that were previously the realm of science fiction (OECD, 2020; Reimers & Schleicher, 2020; WHO, 2020). The speed of COVID-19’s transmission across the globe has brutally illustrated how interconnected the world has become. For example, as governments across the world adopted different measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, people transitioned to work from home arrangements and governments began the closure of schools. UNESCO (2020) claims that by 24 May 2020,1,194,497,798 school learners were affected, including 68.2% of total enrolled learners across 148 countrywide closures. Further, countries including Australia, Finland, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the USA implemented localised school closures depending on the number of cases in various provinces and territories. However, unlike earlier pandemics, technology has enabled learners across the world the opportunity to show, support and cultivate online learning environments in unexpected ways (UNESCO, 2020; WHO, 2020).

Figure 1.1 is proposed as a model to problematise and interpret the immediate impact and disruption caused by COVID-19 in education. With Bronfenbren- ner’s (1979) framework, the model has enabled us to organise the various themes and chapters of this book. For example, the education impact curve illustrates the sharp initial impact and decline over time of COVID-19 on education. We argue that almost all schools, teachers, school leaders and systems will be somewhere along the educational disruption curve depending upon the number of cases in each country, the local contexts, government polity on coronavirus restrictions and implementation of these restrictions more broadly. In the initial stages of the pandemic, across the world, there was a sharp and immediate educational impact culminating in a total of 91.3% of total enrolled learners in schools worldwide

COVID-19 and its impact on schooling, teaching and student wellbeing

Figure 1.1 COVID-19 and its impact on schooling, teaching and student wellbeing

impacted by COVID-19 restrictions (UNESCO, 2020). The grey arrow depicts how governments responded to increased institutional ability across systems, and how individual schools operationalised these restrictions to maintain student learning as many turned to online learning management systems. Here we see evidence of widespread adoption of online learning with many existing face-to- face classes transferred immediately into the online environment. The goal of increasing the institutional capacity of teachers via technology and the implementation of online learning meant that teachers were aiming to flatten the educational impact curve and disruption experienced by students as they were no longer at school.

Defining wellbeing and resilience education

Tesar and Peters (2020) assert that wellbeing is the Zeitgeist of the past decade. Well before COVID-19 appeared as the significant disruption for 2020, concerns around student wellbeing and teacher resilience in education have been broadly documented. As mentioned by Marsh et al. (2019) and Vella and Pai (2019), the research terms ‘wellbeing’ and ‘resilience’ are notoriously difficult to define. For this book, we embrace Huppert and So’s (2013) definition of wellbeing as ‘a combination of feeling good and functioning effectively’ (p. 837) and Vella and Pai’s (2019) definition of resilience as ‘the ability to bounce back or overcome some form of adversity and thus experience positive outcomes despite an aversive event or situation’ (p. 233).

Over the last decade, international studies have documented the implementation of wellbeing programs at the school level and the issue of teacher wellbeing at the school and systems levels as critical challenges for workforce planning and whole-school improvement. Issues of school belonging and engagement are increasingly recognised as linked with school culture, climate and wellbeing (Allen, 2020). There is growing recognition of challenges faced by students throughout the world from a wellbeing perspective. In the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data collected from participating OECD (2017) countries, there has been an increase in the rate of student anxiety and depression reported across various countries. In the Australian context, we have seen an increase in anxiety and depression recorded by people aged 16-24 years. Globally, there have been varying responses to this concerning trend. These include the integration of evidence-informed and scientifically based wellbeing programs that focus on helping young people to know and understand how to improve their own emotional, physical and social wellbeing. These developments have been characterised in different movements such as 21st-century learning (Lavy, 2019), character education (Arthur et al., 2016; Bates, 2019; Kristjans- son, 2017a, 2017b), positive education (Waters & Loton, 2019) and wellbeing education (White & Kern, 2018; White & McCallum, 2020).

We argue that what unifies all these approaches is the aim to improve students’ flourishing within educational contexts. In the OECD’s (2019) Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), 14% of school principals ‘still report regular acts of intimidation or bullying among their students’. COVID-19 presents education researchers with an important juncture to pause, evaluate and reimagine the next decade of research. Before COVID-19 disrupted education, the international evidence supporting learning and mental health cases for the integration of wellbeing in education has been shown by Sachs et al. (2019), Seligman (2019), Waters et al. (2017) and Waters and Loton (2019) investigating the case for wellbeing schools and, as Owens and Waters (2020) contend, an increase in the number of evidence-informed wellbeing practices in schools.

While different theories and constructs have dominated educational debate (Marsh et al., 2019; Waters & Loton, 2019), there is no doubt that wellbeing and resilience are major educational issues of the past decade. The COVID-19 disruption not only affects schooling at the individual student and teacher level, but it also raises several wellbeing issues for all stakeholders. With increases in unemployment, underemployment and uncertainty in the job market emerging as an intergenerational casualty in the early months of COVID-19 (Dorn et al., 2020), the disruption across families around the world has been significant. It is possible to consider that the impact on a child’s life because of this economic impact may be large. Throughout this time, teachers were faced with the challenge of supporting continuity of learning (Cahill et al., 2020). They also aimed to create an ongoing sense of belonging and engagement with school and progress students in their final school examinations. The immediate impact of many families being forced to work from home, and to home-school or care for their children simultaneously, has unlocked a different discourse around teachers, teaching and schooling. As detailed in discussion more broadly, teachers are now being seen potentially in a different light than before the pandemic. The longterm effects of this are yet to be seen (Allen et al., 2020; Azevedo et al., 2020).

Theoretical framework

To interpret whether COVID-19 is education’s crisis or catalyst for change, we use Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological framework for human development (see Figure 1.2) as the theoretical framework for this chapter. Bronfenbrenner (1979) asserts that individuals (i.e. school students) operate within a system between and across different levels. When COVID-19’s impact is interpreted from Bronfenbrenner’s child-centred ecological framework across what he characterises as the micro-, meso-, exo-, macro- and chrono-systems, the pandemic’s potential influence on various systems within education is evident. For example, Bronfenbrenner argues that individuals interact with various levels of systems:

• Microsystem - considers the child (or individual’s) institutional and group changes. For example, because of the pandemic, the dynamic of schools, various neighbourhoods and their peers’ experiences, let alone the family dynamic and potential impact of job losses.

Bronfenbrenner’s ecological framework for human development (1979)

Figure 1.2 Bronfenbrenner’s ecological framework for human development (1979)

  • • Mesosystem - explores the relationship between the child and various actors within their world, such as teachers, peers and members of their immediate and surrounding family.
  • • Exosystem - the impact of various social systems on a child, usually the world of work, which affects the child’s experience. For example, a parent loses his or her job because of the pandemic, or a child of an essential worker in the medical sphere is separated from their parents.
  • • Macrosystem - considers the cultural implications and location, socioeconomic status, cultural background and context of schools that influence the overall development of the child.
  • • Chronosystem - includes the changing socio-historical circumstances that influence a child’s world. For example, it could be argued that the pandemic will have significant economic ramifications for at least the next generation, as various governments implement social security support for those initially affected by the pandemic-induced economic downturn.

About this book

As Flarris (2020) cautioned, ‘There is insufficient data, yet, to decide whether a new education order is emerging or whether the old education is simply resting’ (p. 322). Our goal was to draw together contemporary international research and examine new knowledge about wellbeing and resilience education to generate new concepts, methodologies and understandings to reframe and critique the current wellbeing and resilience research in the context of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. This book has three aims:

  • • to examine how COVID-19 impacts learning and teaching in schools and higher education
  • • to analyse how COVID-19 is influencing innovations in wellbeing and resilience education
  • • to assess if COVID-19 is the defining education crisis or catalyst of our time

As COVID-19 spread across the globe, it was clear that this worldwide issue was presenting a significant juncture in wellbeing and resilience research. On 18 March 2020, as 12,018 cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed worldwide, the editors contacted researchers in Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, North America and the United Kingdom to gauge their level of interest in contributing to a research book examining issues related to wellbeing and resilience in education during COVID-19. We issued invitations to authors for chapter submission for Wellbeinjj and Resilience Education: COVID-19 and Its Impact on Education Systems, and they provided abstracts on their proposed chapter responding to the following provocations:

• What can educational systems learn from an appreciative model of change during a pandemic?

  • • What impact, if any, has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the wellbeing of university students?
  • • How does resilience education fit into a COVID-19 educational landscape?
  • • How can school leadership and empathy play a significant role in flourishing during COVID-19?
  • • What might teachers’ professional practice look like after COVID-19?
  • • Can wellbeing literacy act as a model for educational flourishing?
  • • What can wellbeing and resilience education learn from earlier traumatic events?

Chapter 1, written by Australian researchers Mathew A. White and Faye McCal- lum, critiques COVID-19’s disruption and explores this in the context of many students around the world having access to modern technologies that make them connected in previously inconceivable ways. White and McCallum argue that the COVID-19 pandemic presents wellbeing and resilience education researchers with an opportunity to pause and reimagine the next 20 years of research. They hypothesise a model to interpret the impact of COVID-19 in education.

Writing from an American higher education context, Chapter 2 by Lindsey

N. Godwin and Sara Truebridge argues for the integration of mirror flourishing in wellbeing education research. She introduces an outside-in model to further expand the conceptualisation of wellbeing and resilience education to a macrolevel. Mirror flourishing is defined by Cooperrider and Fry (2012) as the ‘consonant flourishing or growing together that happens naturally and reciprocally to us when we actively engage in or witness the acts that help nature flourish, others flourish, or the world as a whole to flourish’. Godwin contends individuals can focus their energy on ‘doing good’ in the broader social context by connecting and using their strengths in the service of improving the world beyond the walls of their school building, addressing issues such as ecological renewal. In the wake of the global economic, social and psychological disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no shortage of need for transformative wellbeing-focused work in the world.

Chapter 3 is written by Rosalinda Ballesteros-Valdes and Humberto Charles- Leija, who investigate the wellbeing of students at Tecmilenio University in Mexico during March 2020 as students were quarantined across the University due to the health risks caused by COVID-19. Ballesteros-Valdes and Charles-Leija report on the results of a wellbeing questionnaire measuring wellbeing and its five main domains. They examine these results in comparison to previous data. The chapter presents the impact on the student population during the quarantine period and the protective mental health factors during the contingency period.

Chapter 4 is written by Mette Marie Ledertoug, Louise Tidmand (from Denmark), Carlota Las Hayas (from Spain), Silvia Gabrielli and Sara Carbone (from Italy). It reports on the UPRIGHT project, a European project (Horizon 2020) aiming to increase wellbeing and resilience for teenagers, while at the same time decreasing mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. UPRIGHT aims to enhance the resilience capacity of teenagers. The project includes a co-design phase of a resilience program aimed at teenagers, families and teachers in schools from five pilot countries: Iceland, Italy, Poland, Denmark and Spain. It is a whole- school approach based on the Geelong Grammar School wellbeing framework - learn it, live it, teach it and embed it - involving students, teachers, parents and the school community. This chapter focuses on the UPRIGHT program as a means to wellbeing and resilience for teenagers and how the project may have affected students in ordinary life and extraordinary situations.

Chapter 5, written by Katy E. Granville-Chapman from the United Kingdom, investigates the issue of school leadership during this challenging period. They argue that school leadership can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of teachers and, therefore, also the wellbeing of students, particularly at a time of unprecedented change. Granville-Chapman proposes a new model of school leadership: leadership for flourishing. The chapter explores the design and development of the model and how it can be applied to schools.

Chapter 6, written by Iro Konstantinou from the United Kingdom, investigates the impact of personal, social, health education lessons in the United Kingdom, where schools are required to demonstrate how they are developing skills such as resilience and character development in pupils and schools. In this chapter, Konstantinou outlines research undertaken at Eton College as part of our broader strategy on character education. This chapter reports on interventions trialled examining resilience, using Peterson and Seligman’s (2004) Virtues In Action framework. Konstantinou reflects on why such interventions are vital within education more broadly and especially at a time of unprecedented change and challenge.

Chapter 7, written by Australian researchers Nina Maadad and Marizon Yu, focuses on the issue of language learning and investigates the challenges Arabicspeaking refugee children face at home, in school and in the community, as well as the pressures that COVID-19 has created. The chapter considers research on children and adolescents from refugee backgrounds. Specifically, it explores the significant educational disadvantages children experience due to influences beyond their control, particularly as a result of forced migration due to wars, conflict, violence and persecution. The pressures and vicissitudes of migration to a refugee-receiving country, as well as having to learn a new language, aggravate these educational disadvantages. The chapter explores the experiences of Arabic speaking refugee children who are currently enrolled in schools in four major states in Australia (South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria).

Chapter 8, written by a joint team of Canadian and American researchers Tayyab Rashid, Jane Gillham, Steve Leventhal, Zachary Zarowsky and Hareem Ashraf, investigates the design, operationalisation and impact of resilience programs in higher education and the potential repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigators claim that many resilience interventions are Eurocentric and often overlook the complexity of culture and context. Rashid et al. examine how the shockwave of COVID-19 may impact college students from culturally diverse backgrounds

Mathew A. White writes Chapter 9 and investigates the gap between wellbeing and resilience developments in schools and initial teacher education programs. This chapter reports on a series of pilot online wellbeing masterclasses created during COVID-19 for second-year bachelor of teaching pre-service teachers at an Australian University. White outlines how Salmon and Wright’s (2014) Carpe Diem learning design process was used to create the overall masterclasses. The chapter documents interviews undertaken with international researchers on the topics of character, resilience and wellbeing education from the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. This chapter asserts it is possible to integrate these approaches within a bachelor of teaching students’ learning experience to improve their professional practice.

In Chapter 10, Faye McCallum asserts that teachers’ work and the role of teachers will change because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reflecting on the recent (and pre-pandemic) OECD Education Working Paper No. 213, A Teachers’ 'Well-being: A Framework for Data Collection and Analysis, McCallum investigates the work of teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic noting the demands for change have been rapid and unprecedented. McCallum relates how teachers have responded to the disruption and asserts that many groups across the community have acknowledged the value of teachers’ work, with some now seeing it as a highly respected and demanding profession. McCallum reports the initial findings of a survey of thoughts, feelings and impact on the wellbeing of teachers as they plan for and implement effective teaching and learning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. McCallum’s discussion adopts an ecological perspective to show that teachers’ work spreads across many levels, and their wellbeing is of foremost importance as teachers support future student learning during times of disruption.

Chapter 11, written by Australian researchers Lindsay G. Oades, Jessica A. Taylor, Jacqui Francis and Lisa M. Baker, extends previous research on wellbeing literacy (WL) or the capability reflecting what we can be and what we can do. It is conceptualised as habitual, intentional communication about and for the wellbeing of self and the wellbeing of others. Oades et al. contend that communication is both receptive and productive, occurring via multimodal pathways, including reading and writing, listening and speaking, viewing and creating. They assert that there are at least five necessary conditions for WL, including having vocabulary and knowledge about wellbeing; the capability to comprehend multimodal wellbeing texts; the ability to compose multimodal wellbeing texts; context awareness and adaptability; and the habit of intentions to improve the wellbeing of self and others. Oades et al. extend this further and note that multimodal WL pairs naturally with existing literacy curriculum conceptualisations and structures within education systems. Further, they investigate how existing educator confidence in multimodal teaching, educator buy-in is heightened, creating an opportunity to embed WL in education practices and culture.

While most of these chapters focus on COVID-19’s disruption, Chapter 12, written by New Zealand research practitioners Lucy C. Hone, Chris P. Jansen and

Denise M. Quinlan, draws on previous research of trauma experienced during the Christchurch earthquakes. Hone et al. reflect on the devastating earthquakes of 2011 and trauma with profound disruption to wellbeing and education at many levels. They note that through years of anxiety, disruption, uncertainty and rebuilding, this community learnt lessons that are relevant for the period of global upheaval and uncertainty communities face in 2020. In Canterbury, these lessons include enabling creative collective action and practical channels and resources to support and protect collective and individual mental health and wellbeing. From this period emerged communities of practice (COPs) dedicated to supporting educator and student wellbeing. These COPs broke down earlier silo walls and encouraged a collective approach to wellbeing, whereby knowledge and experience (failures as well as successes) were shared across previously competing schools, early childhood centres and other education providers. This chapter shares what can be learnt from earlier disaster response education practices. These collective structures, used to collaborate and share for the collective good, were well placed to collaborate to create and share effective approaches to virtual learning during periods of lockdown and to pay attention to the mental health and wellbeing needs of their communities.

Chapter 13 is written by Ase Fagerlund and Mari Laakso from Finland. Fager- lund and Laakso report on Flourishing Students, an evidence-based program to enhance wellbeing in students through methods in positive psychology and cognitive behaviour therapy. The program consists of 32 wellbeing lessons spanning strengths work, enhancing positive emotions and relationships, strengthening a dynamic mindset and increasing realistic hope and resilience to bounce back from difficulty. With the Flourishing Students program as a starting point, this chapter focuses on how wellbeing work in schools can be applied and adapted in a time of unprecedented change due to COVID-19.

Significance of this book

A challenge facing educational leaders is that as they try to cope and solve the difficulties emerging in the classroom, staffroom and schoolyard, the pandemic itself is evolving as the virus ebbs and flows across the world as shown in Figure 1.3. At a time when there are limited publications on the pandemic’s bearing on schools and schooling, this book makes a unique contribution to the discussion of the impact of COVID-19 on teachers, teaching and schooling more generally. Each chapter in this book portrays different perspectives, culturally, contextually and theoretically. They draw from multiple disciplines, including organisational psychology, educational psychology, culture and pedagogy. When combined, these chapters contribute to much-needed new knowledge and understanding of the impact of the pandemic on educational systems and those who work and learn within them.

We argue that this book will be of value to policymakers, school leaders, teachers and researchers interested in the disruption caused by the pandemic. As Harris (2020) argues, it is still unclear the type of impact that COVID-19 will have upon educational systems. However, what is plausible is that the impact will be

COVID-19 and its mid- and longer-term impact on schooling, teaching and student wellbeing

Figure 1.3 COVID-19 and its mid- and longer-term impact on schooling, teaching and student wellbeing

ongoing for another generation. Education is experiencing a significant change in knowledge and understanding around the complex roles of the relationship between students and their peers, initial teacher education, the role between teachers and what is taught, and the function of school and schooling.

As the severity of pandemic impact ebbs and flows through societies across the world, school leaders and teachers may believe they are returning to a new normal. As the vaccines developed in record time are rolled out across the world and equilibrium returns, we contend that what is unfolding in these turbulent times will mean we are not at the same point in the change cycle. Wellbeing and resilience are now coming of age in education. This field has the potential to make a significant contribution to how teaching and learning are conceptualised within the next decade to create more resilient, robust and flourishing education systems in which all young people believe they belong.

Acknowledgements: Mathew A. White and Faye McCallum presented an earlier version of Figure 1.1 during a research webinar presented with Lindsay G. Oades and Lea Waters AM for the Stretton Institute at the University of Adelaide on 28 May 2020, on COVID-19 and its impact on schooling, teaching and student wellbeing.

Funding details: There was no funding awarded for this project.

Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.


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2 Wellbeing from the outside-in

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