Key principles of curriculum that supports wellbeing and learning
The purpose of this toolkit is to support the development and delivery of curriculum that supports wellbeing and effective learning. There are a number of reasonable ways in which curriculum that supports wellbeing can be conceptualised (see 1 for an alternative). For that reason, we have chosen to structure this resource around key, well-evidenced pedagogic principles that are capable of addressing both wellbeing and learning.
Drawing on our own research and extensive reviews of the literature, this toolkit, therefore, focusses on:
- the importance of scaffolded curriculum design and delivery.
- the social nature of learning.
- the need for curriculum to have a learning focus.
- the need for curriculum to explicitly address holistic learner development.
- support for students who have encountered problems that undermine learning and wellbeing.
We also recognise that curriculum is a product of the processes and culture that govern its creation. We therefore also place a focus on the infrastructure required to produce curriculum that can effectively support wellbeing and learning.
Education 4 Mental Health is structured across these six principles. Each of these principles have been broken down into component parts, based on well-evidenced educational and psychological concepts. However, it should be noted that all of these concepts, across all six principles, relate to each other. For example, learner development is underpinned by a supportive social environment and a well scaffolded curriculum design. The concepts covered by this site are structured for ease of explanation, rather than to suggest they are separate or unconnected.
Within each of the concepts covered we have provided a summary explanation, drawing on appropriate evidence, key lessons, top tips, links to relevant resources and example case studies, where they exist. The toolkit draws on the excellent work that has already taken place on this topic by colleagues across the higher education sector. Without their work, this toolkit could not exist.
How tools on this site are operationalised will depend on institutional, disciplinary and local contexts. However, drawing on the evidence, we believe that if all HE curriculum conformed to these principles, it would ensure better support for student learning and wellbeing and thereby better outcomes for all.
Baik C, Larcombe W, Brooker A, Wyn J, Allen L, Brett M, Field R, James R. Enhancing student mental wellbeing: A handbook for academic educators. Parkville VIC: The University of Melbourne. 2017 Nov.