Research corner

`Caring as a salutogenic aspect in teachers' lives' by Nilsson, M, Ejlertsson, G, Andersson, I et al

Teaching and Teacher Education, 46:51-61, February 2015 (Elsevier)

Who cares? Well, according to new research teachers should, for others and for themselves, if they want to maintain their own well-being.

Four academics from Kristianstad University, Sweden, looked at the resources that teachers used to make their home and work lives more positive. A somewhat selective sample of seven teachers (or, to put it another way: 0.0000000875 per cent of the world's teaching population) took part in the research, which gleaned its findings from focus-group interviews with participants.

It was found that achieving results and "being in doing" were two of the most important aspects of teachers' lives. The former should come as no surprise to those teachers buried elbow-deep in a colour-coded attainment and progress spreadsheet (or, to put it another way: 99.99 per cent of the UK's teaching population), but the latter is where the researchers placed their emphasis.

The authors argue that being present in the moment, supporting others and acting to support yourself and others is central to well-being in the teaching profession. But they stop short of suggesting it is an individual's (or, perhaps, seven individuals') responsibility to adopt this culture of caring within the school. Instead, they say, school administration and initial teacher training courses should take greater notice of the caring aspects of teaching - presumably, the achieving results aspect is considered to be well-covered enough - if they wish to improve well-being and retention within the profession. Or, at the very least, 0.0000000875 per cent of it.

Sarah Cunnane

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