Since 2006, Wellington College has been pioneering the teaching of Well-being lessons. These web pages provide information about what is taught in each aspect of the course and also provide access to the resources that we have developed.
What is Well-being?
The Foresight Report published by the Government Office for Science in 2008 defines Well-being as follows:
‘Well-being is a dynamic state, in which the individual is able to develop their potential, work productively and creatively, build strong and positive relationships with others, and contribute to their community. It is enhanced when an individual is able to fulfil their personal and social goals and achieve a sense of meaning and purpose in their society.’
Other words that are often associated with Well-Being, are ‘flourishing’, ‘thriving’ and the Greek word eudaimonia, which Aristotle used to denote happiness, or ‘the worthwhile life.’ For an excellent discussion of what well-being is, visit www.neweconomics.org/programmes/well-being. The New Economics Foundation is conducting exciting research into how well-being can be measured and has developed a great map of Europe which shows how European nations see their own well-being: www.nationalaccountsofwellbeing.org. An excellent source of material and information about Character Education (strongly related to well-being education) is the website of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue at the University of Birmingham.
The well-being lessons at Wellington, alongside the formal curriculum provision, the extra-curricular activities and pastoral care aim to create the conditions for a flourishing life here at Wellington. It is hoped that members of the community experience well-being when doing things well and being excellent (such as learning, playing sport or forming good relationships), but also have the opportunity to find out about ways to well-being and have time to reflect on how we might bring about our own well-being and the well-being of those around us. For an in-depth discussion of well-being as an aim and philosophy of education, please follow this link.
The Wellington Well-being Course.
Well-being at Wellington is made up of 6 strands and every lesson, session, workshop or talk in some way contributes to one or more of these 6 aspects of what we believe well-being to be:
1. Physical Health: this covers information on the foundations of well-being: keeping ourselves physically healthy.
2. Relationships: this aspect of the course explores what is arguably the most important aspect of well-being, namely our relationships with other people, especially the ethical side of relationships.
3. Perspective: this part of the course is concerned with building a ‘psychological immune system’, or grit and resilience. It aims to help develop the thinking skills that enable us to overcome adversity.
4. Engagement: this element of the course is concerned with recognising that humans are set up to be curious about and investigate the world around us. The unit looks at ways of staying engaged in the things we choose to do, and the things we have to do.
5. The world: this strand is concerned with looking at ways of living sustainably in a conspicuous consumer society and considering our place in the world and what our relationship to it might be.
6. Meaning and Purpose: this final aspect of the course is concerned with exploring meaning-making, which is a central aspect of working out, as Viktor Frankl would say, our response to the questions life asks of us.
The writing of this course has led to the publication of a book, which explains in detail the theory behind teaching well-being and some practical ideas for lessons. It is called Learning to Ride Elephants and it was written by Ian Morris.