The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 35–52 | Cite as

Learning to ‘become somebody well’: Challenges for educational policy

  • Johanna Wyn


This article argues that education has a role in promoting young people’s wellbeing. It draws on research on young people’s lives to highlight the changing world for which educators prepare young people. While older educational agendas such as literacies and numeracy remain significant, it is argued that education is increasingly important for its role in assisting young people to develop the capacities and skills that will enable them to live well and that will enhance social cohesion. Although these more recent social agendas are often acknowledged in significant policy documents, their enactment in schools is compromised by economistic policy imperatives that see young people primarily in terms of their capacities to attain labour market skills that will ensure Australia’s international competitiveness. I make a link between the work that young people do to make themselves, and wellbeing, highlighting the role that education plays in shaping identities — and in enabling them to ‘become somebody well’. The article concludes that health and wellbeing are marginalised in school curricula not because of a ‘crowded curriculum’ but because not all elements are given equal value within our current policy frameworks.


Young People Social Cohesion Education Policy Educational Policy Health Promote School 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australian Association for Research in Education 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Wyn
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of MelbourneAustralia

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