The Experiences of Secondary Teachers Co-constructing Mental Wellness Knowledge


The Mental Health Commission of Canada (2012) indicated “up to 70 percent of young adults living with mental health problems report that the symptoms started in childhood” (p. 24). In Canada, by the age of twenty-five one in five individuals affected by mental illness (Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2020). Mental Wellness 30 (MW30) is a proactive Canadian curriculum, providing students with a 30-level high school elective credit in mental health and wellness. This qualitative collective case study examined four teachers’ experiences as they co-constructed knowledge and developed an understanding of mental wellness with their students by teaching the MW30 curriculum. Vygotsky’s (1986) social constructivist theory framed this study, which focused on the interactions between students and their teachers as they co-constructed knowledge. During this two-month-long study, data were collected through detailed field notes and online interviews with the participating teachers. Three common themes emerged in relation to the co-construction of knowledge: 1) Increased Student Engagement: Teachers and Students Co-create Pedagogical Decisions Supporting Positive and Safe Classrooms; 2) Emotional Scaffolding: The Role of Emotions in the MW30 Learning; and 3) Valuable Learning Occurs When Social Interactions are Embedded in Curriculum and Pedagogy. The findings of this study highlight the need for implementing the MW30 curriculum in schools, the benefits of which include fostering greater mental health literacy for students and teachers. The overarching demographics of mental health issues within student populations further highlight the need to attend to students’ mental health and provide them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to move forward in life as productive, happy individuals.

Author Information
Elaina Guilmette, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2024
Stream: Curriculum Design & Development

This paper is part of the IICE2024 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Guilmette E. (2024) The Experiences of Secondary Teachers Co-constructing Mental Wellness Knowledge ISSN: 2189-1036 – The IAFOR International Conference on Education – Hawaii 2024 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon