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SPE3004 Social and Emotional Wellbeing and Learning

Semester 2, 2012 On-campus Springfield
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Education
School or Department : Education
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Stephen Hughes


Modern schools are becoming increasingly complex social environments as the forces of change impact on families, economics, technology, culture, roles of government and workplace reform. Influences such as globalisation, information technology development, increased social and cultural diversity, shifting patterns of wealth and disadvantage, and the ongoing explosion of knowledge are leading to unprecedented levels of social and emotional stress across the social spectrum. Young people are being challenged to live with complexity, uncertainty and diversity more so in current times than ever before. Most young people cope well and adjust to the demands of contemporary life with support from families, friends, schools and other social networks. An increasing number however, are showing signs of distress. Mental health problems, adjustment difficulties and mental illness are reported at very high rates in Australian society and globally. The World Health Organisation has predicted that a mental illness, depression, will be the second greatest 'burden of disease' on planet earth by 2020. Schools play a crucial role in promoting health and wellbeing in their communities, and increasingly society is turning to education as a major influence on the mental health outcomes for future generations of Australians.


This course is designed to assist pre-service educators develop an awareness of the nature of risk and protective factors that can have an impact on a young person's social-emotional wellbeing and mental health. Students will participate in a range of learning contexts to develop knowledge of the warning signs of possible mental health problems and/or illness, the curriculum and pedagogical innovations that promote wellbeing in their students and school communities, and respond to students in distress or showing signs of social-emotional distress. A health promotion model will be introduced and students will explore practical and innovative ways to promote health-enhancing cultures in their classrooms and school communities. The value of initiatives that enhance academic outcomes through social-emotional learning in the classroom will feature as a way to motivate schools to generate and implement policies dealing with social and emotional wellbeing. NOTE: Minimum enrolment numbers apply to this offering. Should enrolments not reach the minimum number required for on-campus study, students may be transferred to the WEB offering and advised of this change before semester commences.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. The assessment item(s) that may be used to assess student achievement of an objective are shown in parenthesis. On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. identify protective and risk factors associated with social and emotional wellbeing across a range of contexts (Scenario 1 and Scenario 2)
  2. critically discuss the value and application of a health promoting schools model in addressing social and emotional wellbeing issues (Scenario 1 and Scenario 2)
  3. discuss the role of the teacher in the promotion of social and emotional wellbeing identify and describe factors that lead to student alienation, and explore response strategies across a range of contexts (Scenario 2)
  4. identify the characteristics of at-risk students and apply a response framework (Scenario 1)
  5. demonstrate an understanding of the role of social and emotional learning in the promotion of social and emotional wellbeing and improved academic outcomes (Scenario 2)
  6. demonstrate knowledge, understanding and application of course content using appropriate personal, professional and academic literacies, including effective use of ICT to support learning (Scenario 1 and Scenario 2)
  7. demonstrate application of information literacy skills including critical and reflective thinking (Scenario 1 and Scenario 2)
  8. demonstrate application of language and literacy skills, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing (Scenario 1 and Scenario 2)


Description Weighting(%)
1. Rationale for taking action on Social & Emotional Wellbeing and Learning in schools. Topics include: Health promoting schools framework. 10.00
2. A variety of contexts impact on individual and collective Social & Emotional Wellbeing and learning. Topics include: Population Health Information, Developmental Processes, Family Context, Socio-cultural and Socio-economic influences, Individual characteristics and resilience 20.00
3. Risk and protective factors exist for individuals and communities. Topics include: Mental Illness, Bullying, Loss & Grief, Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs, Stress 20.00
4. A response framework can be used to engage young people in a help seeking process. Topics include: Case studies in responding to young people in distress, Analysis of risk & protective factors, Application of a response framework. (Indigenous perspectives are important in this topic especially) 20.00
5. Social & Emotional Learning can promote resilience in school communities. Topics include: Social & Emotional Learning, Pedagogy to promote SEL,ICT and Mental Health Promotion (Indigenous perspectives are significant in this module) 20.00
6. A whole of school approach is best in promoting SEW & SEL. Topics include: The tripartite model of whole of school responses to SEW & SEL promotion. Teacher self care is a key ingredient in whole of school initiatives. 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • No set text for this course. Reference materials are available via course readings repository.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Australian Health Ministers (2004), Cultural respect framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health 2004-2009, Department of Health, South Australia.
  • Australian Health Ministers (2009), Fourth National mental health plan 2009-2014, Australian Government, Canberra.
  • Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care (2000), Community matters, Mindmatters: a mental health promotion resource for secondary schools,
    (Access Date 21/08/2008.)
  • Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care (2000), Mind matters: a mental health promotion resource for secondary schools. DHAC, Canberra,
    (Access Date 21/08/2008.)
  • Commonwealth of Australia (n.d.), A national framework for health promoting schools (2002-2003), Author, Canberra.
  • McGrath, H., & Noble, T (2003), Bounce back: teacher's handbook, Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forest.
  • Whether you are on, or off campus, the USQ Library is an excellent source of information

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 70.00
Independent Study 70.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
RESPONSE TO SCENARIO 1 40 40 10 Sep 2012
RESPONSE TO SCENARIO 2 60 60 22 Oct 2012

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the studentsí responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. APA style is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use APA style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The USQ library provides advice on how to format information sources using this system.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and have Internet access to UConnect for this course