Work done in the margins: A comparative study of mental health literacy in pre-service teacher education in Australia and in Scotland

Gale MacLeod, David Armstrong, Colin Brough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ensuring that pre-service teachers have strong mental health (MH) literacy is vital in securing progress toward an inclusive and effective education system. Yet little is known about how pre-service teachers are prepared for practice with students who present with poor MH in school. The research study we report compares what is currently explicitly offered in Scotland and in Australia to pre-service (ITE) teacher education students in terms of MH. This internationally comparative, small-scale, qualitative study was the first of its kind and used semi-structured telephone interviews with teacher educators involved in delivery of MH content within teacher education programmes. Provision appeared highly variable and often ad-hoc in form, which is concerning given the prevalence of poor MH affecting children and young people in schools. Thematic analysis of data divulged striking commonalities in the issues raised by participants despite being geographically distant. We highlight key implications of our study for teacher education (ITE) programmes in Australia and in Scotland. Principally, research we undertook, discloses the need for urgent improvement of MH provision within pre-service teacher education programmes and we suggests, highlights the possibility of strategically developing a joint (Australian-Scottish) MH component, suitable for delivery to pre-service teachers/ (ITE) students in both countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-343
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Research in Special Educational Needs
Volume19
Issue number4
Early online date4 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • mental health
  • pre-service teacher education
  • Australia
  • Scotland

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