Open University bids to combat student wellbeing crisis

The OU is launching a new teacher training course on embedding mental health in the curriculum to help student wellbeing

The Open University (OU) is making a bid to help teachers tackle the student wellbeing crisis.

According to an NHS report, 12.8% of 5-19 year olds have a mental health disorder.

Teacher Training: Embedding Mental Health in the Curriculum is a new microcredential aiming to counter what experts at the recent Bett conference agreed was a real lack of guidance in the area.

“We believe learning environments should foster mental health and wellbeing, but unfortunately, in many cases, school and university cultures can actually contribute to mental health problems,” said the OU’s manager for accessibility and inclusive practice, Kate Lister.

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Rather than only offer help when a student experiences difficulties, argues Lister, support should be proactively built into the curriculum.

“Though this is a relatively newly researched area, more reports are emerging that suggest that, in order to make a real impact, mental wellbeing needs to be embedded throughout learning, teaching and assessment,” she added.

To that end, the 10-week course is open for enrolment now, and set to begin on March 30.

Worth 10 UK credits, the mircrocredential will be carried on the FutureLearn platform and cover such topics as the relationship between mental health and learning, inclusive learning design and pedagogy, and the barriers to cementing mental health teaching in the curriculum.

Kate Lister’s TEDX talk, ‘How to make learning support mental wellbeing’

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