Research Articles

Embedding Well-being into School: A Case Study of Positive Education Before and During COVID-19 Lockdowns

Lea Waters, Anne Johnstone

Journal of School and Educational Psychology, Vol. 2 No. 2 (2022), 10 October 2022, Page 60-77

For more than a decade, the field of positive education has amassed growing evidence that school-based well-being interventions support and boost the mental health of students. Outcomes such as hope, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, pro-social behavior, school engagement and academic grades have all been shown to significantly increase following positive education interventions. While the growing science has created confidence about the outcomes that can be attained through a positive education approach, significantly less scientific attention has been given to the processes that schools employ to embed a positive education approach. In other words, the field has provided information about what positive education can lead to but has published comparatively little on how positive education becomes infused into schools. The aim of the current qualitative paper is to provide a descriptive case study of one school’s positive education approach before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. A single-case study design was used to conduct a detailed description of how one school has embedded a positive education approach using the SEARCH framework which contains six pathways to well-being: strengths, emotional management, attention and awareness, relationships, coping, and habits and goals. Descriptions are provided for how SEARCH was embedded during on-campus learning before COVID-19 and how it was utilized during two periods of distance learning during the global pandemic. Results from the current study suggest that having a positive education framework, training all staff, having both student and staff well-being initiatives and cultivating a common language for positive education are core processes that create a sustained and adaptive culture of wellbeing. We hope that this case study inspires schools to use student well-being as a prevention tool in good times and as a crisis management tool in times of adversity.

The Brief Course Belonging Scale: Developing a Measure of Postsecondary Students' Course-Level Sense of Belonging Across Online and Face-To-Face Modalities

Michael D. Toland, John Eric M. Lingat, David M. Dueber

Journal of School and Educational Psychology, Vol. 2 No. 2 (2022), 10 October 2022, Page 78-91

Sense of belonging is an important topic in higher education. However, few studies have examined this important construct at the course level and in the online learning context; even fewer are quantitative by design. The aim of our study was to develop and evaluate a measure of sense of belonging that could be used across different postsecondary learning contexts. A psychometric investigation was conducted at a large, US southeastern university on data using the newly developed Brief Course Belonging Scale (BCBS). Results provide evidence for the unidimensional treatment of BCBS data across delivery context, convergent validity for BCBS scores as they relate positively to belonging at the university level, connectedness, and academic motivation, and discriminant validity for BCBS scores as they related minimally with loneliness. Differential item functioning was detected on one item, but this did not jeopardize score validity and reliability. Specific psychometric implications regarding the domain-specificity of the course delivery context as well as the administration of the novel instrument to a more broad, and diverse student population are recommended.