Keynote Talks

The Flourishing Student

Fabienne Vailes, French Language Director, University of Bristol

Research shows that transition to higher education can be a stressful experience, often resulting in psychological distress, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, reduction in self-esteem and isolation.

The first year of university study is said to be one of the greatest transition periods in a student’s life. It is a time where students must learn new academic skills as well as new social and independent living skills. For many, the struggle to balance the competing demands of study, work and personal commitments feels overwhelming and they report significant declines in their overall health and well-being.

Fabienne’s research is an extension of her book and focuses not just on the mental well-being of students but on their growth and development from a more holistic approach (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and social health) to see how it impacts their university experience. It is also an attempt to ‘unpack’ the various strategies used by Flourishing students and Languishing students to see if there are obvious ‘levers’ that could be used to empower students to truly enjoy their studies and experiences at their Higher Education Institutions.

In this keynote, Fabienne will also explain why she believes staff well-being is as important as student well-being and how it contributes to students’ experience of HE.

Fabienne Vailes is French Language Director at the University of Bristol, specialising in teaching French Language and Intercultural Competence and Communication. A key part of her role is helping students overcome the daily challenges they are faced with and develop the resilience they need to complete their studies and succeed both academically and in the workplace. She has just written a book entitled ‘The Flourishing Student – every tutor’s guide to promoting mental health, well-being, and resilience in HE’ which was published on 12th October 2017. She is also currently working on her Teaching Fellowship granted by the University of Bristol which will enable her to research further the ‘Flourishing Student Model’ she has created in her book.

With almost 20 years’ experience in the educational sector, Fabienne has taught all age groups (from nursery to primary, secondary, FE and HE as well as adult learners). She therefore has an unusually wide appreciation of the issues facing learner (and teachers) at all levels.

She is a trained NLP Practitioner and Master Practitioner and Coach, a Mindfulness teacher and a qualified clinical hypnotherapist with specialism in stress and anxiety. She is a professional member of the ANLP and Mindfulness Association.