New Educational Discourse: The Well-Being of Schoolchildren



The article traces the logical sequence of the emergence of the constructs “quality of life” and “well-being” in the public discourse. It is shown that gradually since the end of the 60s of the XX century, the socio-economic and public sphere is turning to invest in education and health, indicators of well-being are being developed. Within the framework of the economy of well-being, it is shown that contributions to the quality of life enhance economic development. The analysis of the wide-scale PISA project shows an increasing body of data on the well-being of schoolchildren. It is shown that over the course of six successive waves of the PISA project, research interest has expanded from recording academic achievements in different countries to indicators of the quality of the educational environment and then to discussing the well-being of schoolchildren. Initially, the characteristics of the school environment were analyzed as factors that contribute to improving academic achievement. Since 2015, well-being has been studied as such, recognizing the importance of a student's well-being and experiences outside of their relationship to achievement. The well-being of schoolchildren is described as a set of its components such as cognitive, psychological, social, physical, and material. The article states that this turn indicates a significant change in the “education” construct itself: it is now considered not only as a preparation for the future life through the achievement of educational results by the student, but also as a part of the life cycle, valuable in itself.

General Information

Keywords: well-being of school children, the PISA project, educational results, academic achievements

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This work was supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation within the framework of scientific project No. 19-18-00271.

For citation: Polivanova K.N. New Educational Discourse: The Well-Being of Schoolchildren. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2020. Vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 26–34. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2020160403. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Katerina N. Polivanova, Doctor of Psychology, Director of Contemporary Childhood Research Center, Institute of Education, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Professor at the Chair of Developmental Psychology by L.F. Obukhova, Department of Psychology of Education, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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