Be Well, Teach Well

A Locally Defined and Participatory Approach to Measuring Teacher Well-being | Uganda

Teachers’ well-being is context-specific and refers to how teachers feel and function in their jobs, including their affections, attitudes, and evaluations of their work. It is affected by varied individual (e.g., displacement status), school-level (e.g., limited resources), and contextual (e.g., community violence) challenges that often lead to emotional exhaustion, lower cognitive and social-emotional functioning, and ultimately hinder teachers’ ability to help students develop social and emotional skills. Teacher well-being is particularly important to consider in a context such as Uganda, where teachers’ job satisfaction is low, teacher shortages are high, and the educational demands of both Ugandan and refugee communities have left the education system overstretched, reducing teachers’ ability to address their own well-being or to support students’ well-being and learning. 

Our Approach

Despite the global emphasis on improving student social and emotional learning outcomes, there is little attention paid to teachers’ well-being. Moreover, there are few validated, rigorous assessments of teachers’ well-being that can be adapted for low-resource and displacement contexts. If the global education community is truly committed to providing equitable, quality learning opportunities for students then more attention must be paid to teacher well-being, including how to assess and better support teachers’ well-being in low-resource and displacement contexts, like Uganda. 

Therefore, our research-practice consortium— the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC), Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education (LGIHE), and Save the Children—will engage a diverse group of teachers from settlement and non-settlement contexts in Uganda to co-create a contextually-appropriate teacher well-being measurement tool. The study is composed of three phases which build upon each other.

Phase 1: Exploring perspectives of well-being Brief ethnographic interviews with 150 teachers across 5 research sites: Palabek, Rwamwanja/Hoima, Kampala, Moroto, and Wakiso. Understand how primary grade teachers in Uganda understand well-being.

Phase 2: Teacher-driven participatory research: establish teacher research group (TRG) comprised of 10 teachers (2 per re-search site and 50% female). TRG will meet twice to review phase 1 findings and co-develop an item bank that the research team can use to design the teacher well-being survey. Facilitate teacher participation in definition of well-being constructs that should be measured.

Phase 3: Validating the assessment Pilot test of 300 teachers (60 per research site). Perform psychometric analysis to understand validity and reliability of survey. Develop a validated teacher well-being survey, with accompanying administration guidance.


Goals, Progress, and Impact

Our project goals are to:  

  1. Ensure that key stakeholders have a common understanding of the importance of teacher well-being. 

  2. Build awareness within the Ugandan, East African, and global education community about the participatory, co-design process through which we can develop contextualized measures of teacher’s well-being. 

  3. Ensure that partners in Uganda know how to use the survey so that it can help further our understanding of teacher’s well-being in Uganda.

Read the press release.

Be Well, Teach Well is funded by USAID’s Long-term Assistance and Services for Research: Partners for University-Led Solutions Engine (LASER PULSE) initiative. LASER PULSE is a five-year, $70-million consortium. Led by Purdue University, LASER PULSE also includes Catholic Relief Services, Indiana University, and Makerere University. LASER PULSE counts on a global network of more than 2,300 researchers and non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives in 61 countries as partners in supporting the discovery and uptake of field-sourced, evidence-based solutions to development challenges spanning all USAID technical sectors and global geographic regions.

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