Why do some teachers thrive, feel engaged and energized through their work? And how do school settings influence this sense of flourishing in the work of teaching, leading, and learning?
A UBC professor has been awarded a $185, 872 Social Science and Humanities grant to examine the organizational well-being of elementary and secondary schools. During her research, Assist. Prof. Sabre Cherkowski will determine why some schools, and people within schools, flourish.
The importance of well-being is garnering international attention as a way of marking the status of healthy organizations, says Cherkowski. While much research has been dedicated to paying attention to its role in workplace settings, there is little research carried out in educational organizations.
“There is evidence that increasing positive capacities such as compassion, hope, trust, resilience, and happiness can lead to benefits in the workplaces such as improvements in organizational commitment,” Cherkowski says.
Her research will contribute to recent innovations by institutes and non-profits, such as the Canadian Institute for Well-Being and People for Education, which establish broader understandings of how to measure well-being.
The three-year project will take place in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, with Cherkowski’s co-investigator, Keith Walker from the University of Saskatchewan. Participants will be educators, administrators, and staff in elementary and secondary schools in the public and private systems. One of the aims of the research is to provide opportunities for these educators to co-create with the researchers new knowledge about how individuals and groups flourish and thrive in educational organizations.
Case studies with interviews, focus groups, and surveys will be used to generate data. These will be designed and carried out in partnership with study participants using appreciative, strength-based principles and practices.
“The vitality of educational organizations directly influences the well-being of society,” says director of the Faculty of Education, Prof. Susan Crichton. “Dr. Cherkowski’s research informs the development of approaches to foster, assess, and sustain well-being in educational and other organizational contexts.”
The project and findings will be available as an open-access website available to policy-makers and practitioners to impact Canadian schools and other organizations.