SA Journal of Education, Vol 39, No 1 (2019)

Fostering teachers’ experiences of well-being: A participatory action learning and action research approach

Elsabé Wessels, Lesley Wood


Teachers, specifically those who work in under-resourced contexts, face many challenges within their workplace that negatively affect their experiences of well-being. Although research indicates that if teacher well-being improves, a more enabling climate for teaching and learning is created, little support is available for teachers in this regard. The aim of this study was to work collaboratively with teachers to help them find ways to improve their experiences of well-being. Following a participatory action learning and action research (PALAR) design, 6 teachers in a rural primary school met as an action learning set over a period of 6 weeks to reflect on their learning about how to improve their experiences of well-being. The findings indicate that frequent, informal social contact with colleagues, coupled with explicit action to focus on positive emotions, could improve teachers’ experiences of well-being. The PALAR design afforded the structure for this to happen. This study offers insight into how a collaborative action learning process could help to enhance teachers’ ability to improve and sustain their experiences of well-being.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Elsabé Wessels -
Lesley Wood –

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