Faculty of Education - Research Publications

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    Asking for a friend: seeking teacher help for the homophobic harassment of a peer
    Molina, A ; Shlezinger, K ; Cahill, H (SPRINGER, 2023-04-01)
    Homophobic name-calling is one of the most common forms of gender-based violence that occurs among young people at school. Yet students are reluctant to seek teacher help when homophobic bullying occurs. We investigated what enables bystanders to seek help from teachers when they witness the homophobic harassment of a peer who may be unwilling to seek help for themselves. Respondents were a sample of 2119 secondary students from 11 Australian schools. Data analysed using generalised mixed linear modelling demonstrated that student connectedness to teachers at the individual and school level were the strongest predictors of the likelihood of reporting the homophobic harassment of a peer. Findings suggest that above and beyond the effects of student relationships with teachers, a culture of teacher care at the school level is crucial in enabling students who witness homophobic bullying to seek teacher help.
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    The responsibility of knowledge: Identifying and reporting students with evidence of psychological distress in large-scale school-based studies
    Kern, ML ; Cahill, H ; Morrish, L ; Farrelly, A ; Shlezinger, K ; Jach, H (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2021-04)
    The use of psychometric tools to investigate the impact of school-based wellbeing programs raises a number of ethical issues around students’ rights, confidentiality and protection. Researchers have explicit ethical obligations to protect participants from potential psychological harms, but guidance is needed for effectively navigating disclosure of identifiable confidential information that indicates signs of psychological distress. Drawing on a large-scale study examining student, school, and system-based factors that impact the implementation of a school-based social and emotional learning program, we describe patterns of distress attained from quantitative and qualitative questions and describe the process that we evolved to monitor and disclose sensitive mental health information, providing one example of how researchers might effectively address the responsibilities that emerge when collecting sensitive information from students within an education system. The patterns and processes that emerged illustrate that the inclusion of mental distress information can elicit important insights, but also brings responsibilities for minimising risks and maximising benefits.
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    Enhancing Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Boarding Students: Evaluation of a Social and Emotional Learning Pilot Program
    Franck, L ; Midford, R ; Cahill, H ; Buergelt, PT ; Robinson, G ; Leckning, B ; Paton, D (MDPI, 2020-02-01)
    Boarding schools can provide quality secondary education for Aboriginal students from remote Aboriginal Australian communities. However, transition into boarding school is commonly challenging for Aboriginal students as they need to negotiate unfamiliar cultural, social and learning environments whilst being separated from family and community support. Accordingly, it is critical for boarding schools to provide programs that enhance the social and emotional skills needed to meet the challenges. This study evaluated a 10-session social and emotional learning (SEL) program for Aboriginal boarders and identified contextual factors influencing its effectiveness. The study combined a pre-post quantitative evaluation using diverse social and emotional wellbeing measures with 28 students between 13-15 years (10 female, 11 male, 7 unidentified) and qualitative post focus groups with 10 students and episodic interviews with four staff delivering the program. Students' social and emotional skills significantly improved. The qualitative findings revealed improvements in students seeking and giving help, working in groups, managing conflict, being assertive and discussing cultural issues. The focus groups and interviews also identified program elements that worked best and that need improvement. Secure relationships with staff delivering the program and participation in single sex groups stood out as critical enablers. The findings lend evidence to the critical importance of collaborative design, provision and evaluation of SEL programs with Aboriginal peoples.
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    An Integrative Approach to Evaluating the Implementation of Social and Emotional Learning and Gender-Based Violence Prevention Education
    Cahill, H ; Kern, M ; Dadvand, B ; Walter Cruickshank, E ; Midford, M ; Smith, C ; Farrelly, A ; Oades, L (University of Malta, 2019)
    Evaluation studies often use stand-alone and summative assessment strategies to examine the impacts of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Gender-based Violence (GBV) prevention education programs. However, implementation research is yet to offer an integrative framework that can be used to investigate the implementation drivers that lead to the uptake of programs that pursue SEL and GBV prevention agendas. We address this gap in research by presenting a framework developed to investigate factors affecting the implementation of the Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships program, an SEL and GBV prevention education program developed for primary and secondary schools in the state of Victoria, Australia. Drawing upon and advancing a conceptual framework for implementation fidelity proposed by Carroll and colleagues we discuss the iterative process designed to investigate the individual, school and system level factors within the wider political and ideological setting(s) of the program that impact on its implementation. Within this iterative process, we highlight the need to focus on ‘the ecology of relations’ that exists between various implementation elements, and their possible mediating impact on program delivery, uptake and outcomes.