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Psychology & Neuroscience of Well-being in Education (UG) - EDU00051H

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Dusana Dorjee
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module aims to introduce students to various conceptions of well-being and their underlying psychological and neurocognitive mechanisms from the perspective of their implications and applications for education.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20 to Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module aims to introduce students to various conceptions of well-being and their underlying psychological and neurocognitive mechanisms from the perspective of their implications and applications for education. It will enable students to develop understanding of different types of well-being, how these are measured (including neuroscience methods) and how they could be fostered through education. Students will consider relevant research evidence, education policy guidance and practice, they will examine possible discrepancies and overlaps between these from an applied perspective.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

Students will:

  • Develop understanding of the different conceptualizations of well-being and their psychological and neurocognitive underpinnings.

  • Acquire analytical comparative knowledge about different ways to measure well-being and foster well-being in education.

  • Critically examine the theoretical bases and research evidence grounding of existing well-being programmes.

  • Apply their knowledge and skills in appraising overlaps and discrepancies across academic research evidence, policy and practice on well-being in education with a focus on an issue they identified independently.

 

Academic and graduate skills

Students will develop skills in:

  • Assimilating information from different sources and develop their own perspective on a range of issues within an important topic in psychology in education.

  • Formulating reasoned arguments building on a variety of evidence and presenting them in both oral and written form.

  • Identifying, critically evaluating (reliability, validity, relevance) and synthesizing a range of resources including academic research articles, policy documents, media reports and educational practice recommendations.

  • Analysing how theories and data from different disciplines can inform each other and can be applied in various contexts to enhance understanding.

  • Working proactively and autonomously to select and manage information and use this to engage effectively in debate.

Module content

Spring Term

Week 1 - What is well-being and how can we measure it?

  • Introducing the concept of well-being, well-being policy, prevention vs. intervention approaches

  • Different types of well-being and their measures    

Week 2 - Can neuroscience measure well-being?

  • Introduction to methods of neuroscience

  • Examples of measuring neural bases of different types of well-being

Week 3 - The stress response and well-being

  • Developmental neurobiology of stress – understanding how it impacts well-being

  • Role of appraisals and their modulation by psychological strategies

Week 4 - Self-regulation (1) – Metacognition and attention regulation

  • Attention networks and their neural bases from a developmental perspective – links to well-being

  • Example measures of self-regulation and school-based interventions

Week 5 - Self-regulation (2) – Emotion regulation  

  • Emotion regulation and its neural underpinnings form a developmental perspective – links to well-being

  • Example measures of emotion regulation and school-based interventions

Week 6 – Well-being interventions in education

  • Based on readings we will critically examine existing well-being programmes for education with particular focus on the underlying well-being conceptualizations of the programmes, their aims and limitations.  

Week 7 - Rumination and well-being

  • Positive and negative rumination, contribution to psychopathology, neural bases of rumination

  • Strategies for managing negative rumination

Week 8 – Purpose and meaning in life and well-being

  • Distinguishing religious and existential well-being, existential awareness; relevant neuroscience evidence

  • Approaches to fostering existential well-being in education  

Week 9 - The role of education in supporting well-being of the population

  • Comparing education policy with research theory/evidence

  • Considering implications of education practice – whole school approach and long-term perspective

Summer Term

Week 1 – Well-being in primary schools

  • In this problem-based learning session students will discuss in groups and propose innovative well-being programs for primary schools based on their understanding of developmental well-being trajectories of this age group and existing programmes

Week 2 – Well-being in secondary schools

  • In this problem-based learning session students will discuss in groups and propose innovative well-being programs for secondary schools based on their understanding of developmental well-being trajectories of this age group and existing programmes

Week 3 – Psychology and Neuroscience of Well-being in Education – Reading group

  • Students will critically discuss two papers they will be asked to read ahead of the session

Week 4 – Wrap up and essay preparation session

  • Students will critically discuss overarching links between the main topics of the module

  • This session will also provide an opportunity for students to discuss specific queries about their essays

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 5000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 5000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback on summative assignment report sheet and face-to-face feedback in supervisions. 

Students will receive in-session formative feedback on critical writing and also formative feedback on their essay plans.

The feedback is returned to students in line with university policy. Please check the Guide to Assessment, Standards, Marking and Feedback for more information.

 

Indicative reading

Davidson, R. J., & McEwen, B. S. (2012). Social influences on neuroplasticity: stress and interventions to promote well-being. Nature neuroscience, 15(5), 689-695.

Frankl, V. E., & Boyne, J. (2017). Man's Search for Meaning: Young Adult Edition. Beacon Press.

Hanh, T. N., & Weare, K. (2017). Happy teachers change the world: A guide for cultivating mindfulness in education. Parallax Press.

Lewis, G. J., Kanai, R., Rees, G., & Bates, T. C. (2013). Neural correlates of the ‘good life’: Eudaimonic well-being is associated with insular cortex volume. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 9(5), 615-618.

Lupien, S. J., McEwen, B. S., Gunnar, M. R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature reviews neuroscience, 10(6), 434-445.

Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2000). Developing mechanisms of self-regulation. Development and psychopathology, 12(3), 427-441.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.

Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology, 57(6), 1069.

Selligman, M. (2018). The Optimistic Child. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Thorburn, M (Ed.) (2017). Wellbeing, Education and Contemporary Schooling. Routledge.

Unicef. (2007). Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries (No. inreca07/19).



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

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