I was delighted to have been invited to present at the recent Asia International Schools Conference (AISC) in Hong Kong last week. Here I presented the findings of my published research which explored the effects of the ongoing school closures in Hong Kong (due to Covid-19) on teachers’ mental wellbeing.
REFLECTIONS AND NEW DIRECTIONS: Adopting an Ethical Framework in Decision Making
Appreciating that governments, public health authorities and policy makers have to make difficult decisions during unprecedented times like the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of countries devised summary statements based on Thompson, Faith, Gibson and Upshur’s (2006) ethical framework. These ethical values inform how and what decisions are made. This includes: Inclusivity; Openness and Transparency; Reasonableness; Responsiveness and Accountability.
- Ongoing school closures and more specifically, the uncertainty around the COVID-19 government policies, negatively affected teachers’ overall mental health.
- 70% teachers considered leaving teaching and/or Hong Kong
- 66% stated that they felt engaged at work
- 61% reported feeling exhausted at work
- 51% believed that they were only somewhat effective at their job
- 49% stated that they felt stressed at work
- 48% expressed feeling frustrated at work
- There were some positive aspects, including the flexibility of working from home, less time commuting and more time with family
- Key coping strategies included exercise, talking to family and friends and putting a time limit on the amount of schoolwork they do at home
- This study has implications for education policy and practice, notably the importance of safeguarding teachers’ mental wellbeing to ensure continued high-quality teaching, the wellbeing of our youth and ultimately the health of our society
The findings suggest that adopting the values outlined in the ethical framework could assist in mitigating the negative psychosocial consequences of the pandemic and other times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).Adopting this value-driven framework could also assist in covering social aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as ensure accountability of leadership.
For me, the most important part of the whole experience was when one teacher stood up at the end of the presentation and thanked me for putting into words what they had all being experiencing, for giving them a voice. That is what makes research worthwhile!
The full published article can be found using this link: Teacher Mental Wellbeing Study