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The study says that implementing wellness programs in the school benefits from multiple voices


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Health and wellbeing education can be an important addition to the curriculum. But to be effective, these programs must be delivered in a way that works for everyone, including students, teachers, and school administrators. A new study from the University of Illinois evaluates the implementation of two prevention programs, using a multi-method approach with input from multiple sources.

“Seeking diverse perspectives is important. The more we can listen to everyone who is involved, the better we can learn about what can be done to improve programs. And we really need to include the voice of young people, because they are experts in their own right,” says Jacinda Darriotis, professor in the Department of Human Development. and family studies and director of the Center for Family Resilience, both part of the University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences I. Dariotis is lead author on the paper published in Prevention science.

The study was conducted in three urban public schools in low-income neighborhoods. The participants were ninth graders, most of whom (84%) self-identified as black. Students volunteered for the study and were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness or health education class. The programs were delivered in 30-minute sessions four times a week for 10 weeks.

To assess program implementation, the researchers asked the trainers to write down the students’ attendance and participation, as well as their commitment to the program. Some of the class sessions were videotaped and evaluated by independent observers. Finally, the students discussed their experiences in focus groups after the end of the program.

Dariotis and her colleagues identified four subjects that had a positive effect on delivery. For example, it is essential that teachers be attentive and engaged. A variety of activities are needed to capture attention, including more student involvement. There should be sufficient time to deliver the programme. Students’ preferences must also be considered in program scheduling.

“One of the biggest takeaways is that the student-teacher relationship is really important, because that builds connection,” says Dariotis. “We also found that active learning is important, including physical activity and opportunities to help and coach other students.”

The researchers measured program accuracy, which deals with how closely teachers adhered to program protocol, through teacher self-reports and observer observations. Dariotis notes that teachers sometimes deviate from protocol due to environmental conditions and interruptions, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some flexibility in program delivery can help meet the needs of the students and the school.

Several barriers to implementation emerged from the study, including insufficient time, behavior management issues, and environmental disturbances in the school setting.

“These are very low-resource schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. When you try to offer prevention programs like this, there are a lot of distractions that make implementation difficult. The more we can do to achieve greater predictability and reduce distractions, the better the chances of success.” Dariotis says.

Schools need to balance limited time with many different requirements, but listening to young people’s perspectives and learning about their challenges can help increase engagement.

“It is important to bring in young people’s input and perceptions early on to ensure that programs can be designed and implemented in ways that meet the needs of students, as well as teachers and schools,” Dariotis says.

“These types of programs can be offered at any school or after-school program that is willing to invest in low-cost, highly scalable, and sustainable programs that can make a difference,” she concludes.

more information:
Jacinda K. Dariotis et al., Implementing Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Programs in Schools: Insights from a Mixed Methods and Multiple Informant Study, Available here. Prevention science (2023). DOI: 10.1007/s11121-022-01481-2

Provided by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

the quoteImplementing school-based well-being programs benefits from multiple voices, study says (2023, March 27), Retrieved March 27, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-school-based-well-being-benefits multiple voices.html

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