Wellbeing research

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An increasing body of evidence demonstrates that wellbeing profoundly influences our ability to learn, thrive and lead fulfilling lives. In an ever-evolving education landscape, prioritizing and fostering wellbeing becomes a vital investment in the future of education.

This page highlights research into the existing scientific landscape, emphasizing the foundational evidence that positions wellbeing at the core of the educational ecosystem. Moving beyond a narrow focus on academic achievement, a systemic approach to wellbeing necessitates creating a holistic, interconnected and supportive learning environment.

Foundational research

The Wellbeing Research Centre at the University of Oxford conducted a series of in-depth literature reviews to understand the science behind student, teacher and school community wellbeing. Based on these studies the IB can develop supports for teachers and schools to define wellbeing in their own context and to learn how best to improve it.

Wellbeing in education in childhood and adolescence

wellbeing-childhood-thumb-en.jpgDr Laura Taylor, Prof Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Luana DeBorst and Devi Khanna—Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Oxford
The aim of this study is to give the International Baccalaureate and IB World Schools an overview of the latest research behind wellbeing in childhood and adolescence. The report includes a literature review and an evidence-based student wellbeing framework. The student wellbeing framework is intended as a broad overview of factors that are likely involved in wellbeing in schools, and is presented through four themes: health, people, environment and skills.

 

Wellbeing for schoolteachers

wellbeing-for-schoolteachers.jpgDr Laura Taylor, Dr Wanying Zhou, Leoni Boyle, Sabina Funk and Prof Jan-Emmanuel De Neve— Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Oxford
This foundational literature review provides an overview of the latest research into teacher wellbeing and its importance for teachers themselves, students and the school community. The report is intended to give the International Baccalaureate, policymakers and educational leaders an understanding of the definitions of adult wellbeing, what influences teacher wellbeing and what interventions might be used to improve teacher wellbeing. The researchers also present a teacher wellbeing framework which identifies drivers of teacher wellbeing.

 

School wellbeing ecosystem

Coming in 2025

 

Paper series on wellbeing

What is wellbeing?

What-is-well-being-thumb-Eng.jpgDr Magdalena Balica, Senior Policy Research Manager—IB Research Department
This paper begins by defining wellbeing, based on an influential conceptual model. It then examines and dispels common myths related to wellbeing for students and schools. Next, the researcher discusses a well-known model that maps influencers of student wellbeing at the micro, meso and macro levels. Lastly, the paper provides practical guidance to schools for developing a context- specific wellbeing policy

Why wellbeing matters during a time of crisis

why-wellbeing-matters-during-a-time-of-crisis-thumb-en.jpgDr Magdalena Balica, Senior Policy Research Manager—IB Research Department
This paper aims to provide IB stakeholders with a research-informed overview of the main challenges, opportunities and possible strategies to support student wellbeing with COVID-19 learning disruptions.

Supporting student wellbeing in a digital learning environment

supporting-student-wellbeing-thumb-en.pngDr Magdalena Balica, Senior Policy Research Manager—IB Research Department This paper provides an evidence-based overview of the main challenges, opportunities and strategies for supporting student wellbeing in a digital learning environment. The paper focuses on three key areas related to student wellbeing and learning in a digital environment: overcoming isolation, boosting learning engagement and improving self-regulated learning skills. Based on the research, the author offers nine strategies for supporting student wellbeing during digital learning.

 

Paper series on social-emotional learning

Academic buoyancy and resilience for diverse students around the world

academic-buoyancy-thumb.pngRoss Anderson, Paul Beach, Jessica Jacovidis and Kristine Chadwick—Inflexion
This policy paper presents findings from a wide range of literature on academic resilience in primary and secondary education to help shape the approach schools can take to support diverse students. Part one of the paper outlines key insights from research on academic buoyancy and resilience; part two presents promising practices to improve students’ academic resilience skills; and part three provides recommendations for IB stakeholders, to strengthen and reinforce the IB’s potential to develop students with academic buoyancy and resilience.

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Growth mindset thinking and beliefs in teaching and learning

Growth-mindset-research-brief-Eng.pngJessica Jacovidis, Ross Anderson, Paul Beach and Kristine Chadwick—Inflexion
This policy paper presents findings from a wide range of literature on growth mindset in primary and secondary education. Part one of this policy paper describes key insights from research on growth mindset; part two presents promising practices for improving students’ growth mindset beliefs and thinking; and part three provides recommendations for IB stakeholders that are meant to strengthen the potential of IB programmes to facilitate student growth mindset thinking across contexts.

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Making the abstract explicit: the role of metacognition in teaching and learning

Metacognito_EN.pngPaul Beach, Ross Anderson, Jessica Jacovidis and Kristine Chadwick—Inflexion
This policy paper presents findings from a wide range of literature on metacognition in primary and secondary education. Part one of the paper describes key insights from research on metacognition; part two presents promising practices for improving students’ metacognitive abilities; and part three provides recommendations for IB stakeholders that are meant to strengthen the potential of IB programmes to develop students with metacognitive strengths for lifelong learning.

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To learn more, check out these six free micro-credentials on Student wellbeing.