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Wednesday, November 11 • 10:00am - 10:25am
Embedding Mental Health and Wellbeing in Open Pedagogies

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Growing numbers of students at schools, colleges and universities are experiencing mental health issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened anxiety and stress for many learners of all ages, especially those learners facing a significant change to the way in their education is delivered. While the act of learning can be extremely positive for student mental wellbeing, in other cases it can exacerbate or cause mental health difficulties. Any pedagogy of care (Bali, 2020) will need to address the relationship between curriculum and mental health. Fortunately, educators can do much to embed mental wellbeing in their teaching in order to prevent or mitigate mental health issues, including through the adoption of an open pedagogy strategy.

Various aspects of open pedagogy have the potential to support student mental health and wellbeing. For example, connecting learners with the wider world can support their sense of belonging, while renewable assessment offers relevance, authenticity and value that can support student motivation. Empowering students in co-creating curricula and resources offers similar potential benefits in respect of autonomy, motivation and wellbeing. However, open pedagogy also raises potential barriers to student wellbeing. For example, students with social anxiety may find the emphasis on collaboration uncomfortable and students with low self-esteem and/or self-efficacy may find it difficult to manage the degree of autonomy often involved in open pedagogy approaches. In addition, connecting students with the wider world online brings safety and surveillance issues that could compromise their wellbeing, leading to stress and anxiety.

Most of these barriers can be managed, however, by paying careful attention to learners’ specific needs. This presentation draws on current research from The Open University and elsewhere to underpin an exploration of the relationship between open pedagogy and mental wellbeing, and the strategies that educators might employ to evaluate and manage the potential impact of any open pedagogy approach. The presentation discusses how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can be used as a guiding framework within which to locate open pedagogy strategies in order to evaluate their impact on student mental health and to ensure that open pedagogy-informed teaching, learning and assessment supports, rather than undermines wellbeing for diverse learners in diverse contexts.


Learning Outcomes:
•Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the relationship between mental health and learning in diverse global contexts.
•Identify some of the ways in which open pedagogies can support mental health and wellbeing.
•Identify some of the barriers to mental health and wellbeing connected with open pedagogies and the ways in which they might be managed.

Speakers
avatar for Leigh-Anne Perryman

Leigh-Anne Perryman

Senior Lecturer, The Open University
I'm passionate about open education, about social justice, about redressing the imbalance between the world's most and least privileged people, about teaching and learning, about openness and about women's empowerment.
avatar for Kate Lister

Kate Lister

Lecturer, The Open University


Wednesday November 11, 2020 10:00am - 10:25am EST
Concurrent 5
  Social Justice, Presentation