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Campbell High School is aiming to include social and emotional learning programme in the curriculum. It is located at the bottom of Mount Ainslie opposite to Australian War Memorial and former headquarters of CSIRO’s. The facility is situated in Campbell, an inner residential of Canberra, Australia. The school is for students in years 7 to 10 in the education system of Australian Capital Territory. It is named after Robert Campbell of Scottish origin, who settled in the region in the early 1830s; it was opened in 1967. The establishment is one of the government schools in the inner suburbs of Canberra, Australia. It has a total number of 730 students and is coeducational.
An Overview of the Programme
GoStrengths! SEL programme is the social and emotional learning initiative that this paper will address. It will provide 10-module research-based SEL programme for students aged 9 in high school toward the life goals and academic success. The programme will be taught during the school days throughout the year. It has never been easy for teachers to assist students to handle the life challenges, overcome academic difficulties, and enhance relationship building. Therefore, the focus of GoStrengths! Programme is to provide eight core skills that include self-confidence, problem-solving, setting goals, and the development of strong character, positive attitude, social connection, resilience, and emotional intelligence (Greenberg, 2006). It provides well-supported lessons in SEL by integrating cut-edging research from neuroscience and positive psychology. Students will easily interact with material offered in form of presentations, including over 100 animations (Hromek & Roffey, 2009).
GoStrengths! is the SEL programme that is strongly related to the success of students in school and life. The need for this project is well recognised in current times, and there is also continuous growth of similar initiatives across the world. Campbell High School serves students with different abilities and motivation for learning. Some of them are actively engaged in academics and class curricula, while the others’ performance is less engaged evident. Many students become less motivated academically as they advance from kindergarten to high school. It is approximated that around 55% of suburban high school students turn out to be less involved with academic activities, while around 30% are engaging in various high-risk behaviours such as depression, sex, attempted suicide, and substance use (Australian Government, 2010). These patterns jeopardise the potential for life success of the learners as well as interfering with performance (Slade, Teesson, & Burgess, 2009). Additionally, some students do not have social-emotional skills, tend to disrupt the educational experiences of classmates, and believe their teacher does not care about them.
An Analysis and Evidence of How the Programme Links To Research
Youth suicide in Australia is the tragedy that touches family friends and the wider community. In 2011, 330 young people were reported to have taken their lives (McNamara, 2013). However, the Australian government has acknowledged the activities of suicide prevention as the component of mental health reform. Over the period of nine years, it has delivered $3.1 billion in new and advanced mental health reforms, which the main focus is to help the youth through early prevention and intervention programme (Slade et al., 2009). The commitment of the Gillard government is to build mental health reform packages to tackle suicide issue in Australia before it is too late.
Therefore, a broad, balanced education is required to prepare young people for their future. Go Strengths! SEL programme ensures that students have mastered the basic academic competencies and make them be responsible adults. It is necessary for the schools, communities, and families to find and apply evidence-based strategies that boost emotional, social, and educational involvement of the children and enhance the growth in the early years of development. Various studies done in the past few years show that implementing the Go Strengths! Programme in Australian high schools is very important because it will help to reduce problem behaviours, promote academic performance, and improve positive adjustment (Weissberg & O’Brien, 2004; Brooks, 2001). The initiative was evaluated across two different settings and time period, throughout the school time and after studying, and two separate categories of the student population.
The three large-scale reviews of study used to evaluate the need for implementing the SEL programme in the school curriculum include the universal review, which examined the positive effect of the universal school-based project. It means the initiative is suitable for every student without any emotional or behavioural problems. The indicated review focused on the SEL programme that distinguishes and operates with students who are revealing early traces of emotional or behavioural difficulties. After-school reviews considered the project that was conducted after school activities, which mainly involved students without recognisable problems (Payton et al., 2008). The analyses were carried out for each review using a meta-analytic approach where the overall impact of the programme across studies is summarised in a quantitative fashion. The results were based on 98 studies that comprised 2,105 respondents.
75 school-based studies included in the universal review involved 4,543 students. The classroom-based programming was the most common strategy, which mainly took the set of lessons or form of a certain curriculum that aimed to establish social and emotional skills such as setting goals, identification of feeling and problem, interpersonal problem-solving skills, and conflict-resolution strategies. In addition, some multi-component courses were taught in the classrooms to supplement the skills training with a community, school-wide, or parent (Greenberg, 2006). There were 30 studies in the indicated review involving 1,685 students. These elements addressed the children who displayed indications of a behavioural, social, or emotional problem, but were not in need of special education or diagnosed with a mental disorder. The programmes that involved a single-intervention component constituted more than 60%.
An example of such programmes includes small-group problem-solving sessions where teaching staff trained different emotional and social competencies such as how others should handle provocations and make friends and how students should recognise feelings in themselves. The rest of the studies entailed several intervention components combining different classroom, group, individual, and parent teaching support. After-school review incorporated 42 reviews and engaged 2,923 students. Their goal was to develop one or more personal and social skills. The interventions had to be conducted outside of normal school periods during at least a part of the school years and be examined by adults (Payton et al., 2008). The after-school programmes that addressed only the improvement of academic performance, summer camp, outside extracurricular, or adventure projects were not eligible.
Demonstrated Understanding of the Programme from Different Perspective
Various scholars admit that the skills obtained from social and emotional learning improve life satisfaction and academic success. GoStrengths! SEL programme uses animated lessons and fun to deliver SEL competencies easily. Every module out of nine incorporates research with practical utilisation of skills. Teachers are able to engage even the most problematic student by using animations, narrated games, and presentations (Hromek & Roffey, 2009). The GoStrengths! SEL programme provides learners with eight research-based skills including social skills, resilience, and self-confidence, and so on. The initiative offers knowledge and skills to the students through understanding and handling their emotions, setting and attaining positive goals, creating and keeping positive relationships, and demonstrating caring and concern for others.
These social and emotional skills enable students to acquire abilities to resolve conflicts respectfully, to calm themselves when angry, initiate a friendship, contribute constructively to their community, and make safe and ethical choices. Stafford, Moore, Foggett, Kemp, and Hazell (2007) suggest that students who are realistic in appraising themselves and their abilities render good decisions about daily challenges, resolve interpersonal conflicts effectively, regulate their behaviour and their feelings appropriately, and interpret social cues accurately. Therefore, the short-term goal of GoStrengths! SEL programme is to enhance constructive feelings and social-emotional competencies to the high school students, which consequently leads to improved academic performance and adjustment as reflected in less emotional distress, fewer conduct problems, positive social behaviours, achievement test score, and better grades.
A Judgement of Overall Effectiveness of the Programme
There are strong and consisted of support for the significance of implementing GoStrengths! SEL programme in the three reviews of research evaluated. The three examined reviews of research indicated that students participated in the respective project showed several capacities of academic, social, and personal lives. Also, the SEL programme promoted positive impacts on student’s academic performance, social behaviour, social-emotional attitudes and skills toward school, self, and others, emotional distress, and conduct problems. The aforementioned initiative has particularly produced an average improvement on success tests scores of 12 to 20 percentile points. The involvements of GoStrengths! SEL programme was fruitful in both learners with and without identifiable problems and for the school and after-school setting. The project was also successful across the children between 5 and 11 years of age for facilities in suburban setting as well as culturally and racially varied student bodies (Payton et al., 2008; Stafford et al., 2007). Researchers from the indicated and the universal reviews suggested that the SEL programme was efficient when supervised by the school staff, and it can be integrated into regular academic practice.
In the after-school and universal reviews, it was discovered that GoStrengths! SEL Programme applies recommended skill training, including sequenced, active, focused, and explicit. Therefore, this project was more operative than other programmes such as self-presentation and so on that failed to adhere to these recommended practices for skill training. Putting recent results in the context of earlier studies provide enough justification for the implementation of GoStrengths! SEL Programme. Relating the results in the evaluations to outcomes found in a review of evidence-based initiatives carried out by other scholars this SEL intervention is determined to be among the most effective projects ever presented to high school students in Australia. The findings show that GoStrengths! SEL programme implemented by teachers and student support personnel in the school, enhance children’s academic achievement, life satisfaction, attitudes toward school, and behaviour change. Therefore, there is a need to implement a well-designed initiative in the educational facilities, having given these broad positive effects that simultaneously foster students’ academic, social, and emotional wellbeing.
A Justification for Implementation of the Programme
The three large-scale reviews of research examined indicate that implementation of GoStrengths! SEL programme in the high school curriculum is significant because it has a positive impact on raising school grades and improving social and emotional wellbeing. The benefits of the project in educational facilities has been realised among students with early difficulties and those without any sign of behavioural or emotional problems as well as learners that are socio-economically and ethnically diverse (Benard, 1995). GoStrengths! SEL programme promotes academic achievement, prevent developmental problems and improve the overall development of youngsters. However, further investigation is required to increase the value of future training regardless of a rising association of research that bolsters the effectiveness of the initiatives in schools. For example, a combination of the SEL programme designed for student population would give better gains than applying for a single plan. Nonetheless, the results have shown that these projects are among the most effective youth-development initiatives ever presented in the schools.
The GoStrengths! SEL programme offered in suburban schools setting was successful for students of different ages. Indicated review replicated several discoveries from the universal review showing that application of the given approach onto learners manifesting initial traces of difficulties helped to reduce negative conducts, feeling of stress, and anxiety and improve school performance, pro-social behaviours, and attitudes. Other major findings obtained from the indicated review demonstrated that school personnel in the Australian facilities and community members were successful in conducting GoStrengths! SEL programme. It was equally efficient for students with various difficulties after they participated in the intervention. The programme was helpful for the students showing difficulties with peer relationships, life dissatisfaction, conduct problems, and signs of emotional distress. The project was also effective for students of a different stage of development in rural and suburban settings as well as the schools that mainly serves ethnically and socio-economically diverse student bodies.
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