Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1966
The Need to Belong: a Deep Dive into the Origins, Implications, and Future of a Foundational Construct
(SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2021-08-31)
The need to belong in human motivation is relevant for all academic disciplines that study human behavior, with immense importance to educational psychology. The presence of belonging, specifically school belonging, has powerful long- and short-term implications for students' positive psychological and academic outcomes. This article presents a brief review of belonging research with specific relevance to educational psychology. Following this is an interview with Emeritus Professors Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary, foundational pioneers in belonging research which reflects upon their influential 1995 paper, "The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation," to explore the value and relevance of belonging for understanding human behavior and promoting well-being.
Technology integration for young children during COVID-19: Towards future online teaching
To support young children's learning during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, preschool educators in Hong Kong were required to teach with digital technologies. In this study, 1035 educators from 169 preschools reported their views and practices in an online survey, which we examined via multilevel mixed-response analysis and thematic analysis. More than half of the respondents (53%) expected future online teaching to continue, and only 11% of educators believed that parents would reject this form of delivery. Administrators and teaching assistants were more likely than teachers to expect online preschool teaching to continue in the future. In addition, respondents with existing online platform experience, who taught the upper levels of preschool, or incorporated specific teaching practices (eg, after the online lesson, they assessed children and assigned homework tasks), were more likely than others to expect online teaching in the future. Many of these respondents also reported (a) difficulty with engaging their children when online and (b) inadequate support from parents for learning activities, which reduced the respondents' perceived likelihood of future online teaching. Administrators and teaching assistants were more likely than teachers to believe that parents would accept online teaching in the future. Respondents who felt they had inadequate training to teach online, children in families with inadequate technical skills and parents who believed that online lessons harmed children's well-being, were less likely than others to believe that parents would accept online teaching in the future. These educators believed that online learning communities could connect parents and schools and foster interaction that could help align with educator's support for children's learning needs.
COVID-19 as a catalyst for educational change.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-06-11)
The massive damages of COVID-19 may be incalculable. But in the spirit of never wasting a good crisis, COVID-19 represents an opportunity to rethink education. The rethinking should not be about improving schooling, but should focus on the what, how, and where of learning. This article highlights some of the questions that schools can ask as they reimagine post-COVID education.
Build back better: Avoid the learning loss trap.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-03-04)
A dangerous trap exists for educators and education policy makers: the learning loss. This trap comes with a large amount of data and with sophisticated projection methods. It presents a stunningly grim picture for education and it invites educators and policy makers to make wrong decisions and invest in wrong things. The article identifies a number of undesirable outcomes that their concerns could lead to. It also suggests several productive actions when the pandemic is controlled and schools reopen.
Better Later Than Never: Meaning in Late Life
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-07-02)
The quest for meaning in life takes on new challenges and directions during late life. This mini-review draws on prior theory to analyze meaningfulness into six discrete dimensions (purpose, value, efficacy, self-worth, mattering, and comprehension) and covers research into how these apply and operate specifically during late life. Limited remaining time, concern with one's legacy, concerns with self-continuity and integration, variable challenges to self-worth, and prioritization of positivity emerge as key themes.
Mental health and wellbeing coordinators in primary schools to support student mental health: protocol for a quasi-experimental cluster study
BACKGROUND: Half of mental health disorders begin before the age of 14, highlighting the importance of prevention and early-intervention in childhood. Schools have been identified globally by policymakers as a platform to support good child mental health; however, the majority of the research is focused on secondary schools, with primary schools receiving very little attention by comparison. The limited available evidence on mental health initiatives in primary schools is hindered by a lack of rigorous evaluation. This quasi-experimental cluster study aims to examine the implementation and effectiveness of a Mental Health and Wellbeing Co-ordinator role designed to build mental health capacity within primary schools. METHODS: This is a primary (ages 5-12) school-based cluster quasi-experimental study in Victoria, Australia. Before baseline data collection, 16 schools selected by the state education department will be allocated to intervention, and another 16 matched schools will continue as 'Business as Usual'. In intervention schools, a mental health and well-being coordinator will be recruited and trained, and three additional school staff will also be selected to receive components of the mental health training. Surveys will be completed by consenting staff (at 2-, 5-, 10- and 17-months post allocation) and by consenting parents/carers (at 3-, 10- and 17-months post allocation) in both intervention and business as usual schools. The primary objective is to assess the change in teacher's confidence to support student mental health and wellbeing using the School Mental Health Self-Efficacy Teacher Survey. Secondary objectives are to assess the indirect impact on systemic factors (level of support, prioritisation of child mental health), parent and teachers' mental health literacy (stigma, knowledge), care access (school engagement with community-based services), and student mental health outcomes. Implementation outcomes (feasibility, acceptability, and fidelity) and costs will also be evaluated. DISCUSSION: The current study will examine the implementation and effectiveness of having a trained Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator within primary schools. If the intervention increases teachers' confidence to support student mental health and wellbeing and builds the capacity of primary schools it will improve student mental health provision and inform large-scale mental health service reform. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was retrospectively registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) on July 6, 2021. The registration number is ACTRN12621000873820 .
Evaluation of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander strengths based coaching program: a study protocol
BACKGROUND: Increasingly, strength-based approaches to health and wellbeing interventions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are being explored. This is a welcome counter to deficit-based initiatives which can represent a non-Indigenous view of outcomes of interest. However, the evidence base is not well developed. This paper presents the protocol for evaluating a strengths-based initiative which provides life coaching services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community housing tenants. The study aims to evaluate the effect of life coaching on social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) of tenants in three Victorian regions. METHODS: The More Than a Landlord (MTAL) study is a prospective cohort study of Aboriginal Housing Victoria tenants aged 16 years and over that embeds the evaluation of a life coaching program. All tenant holders in one metropolitan and two regional areas of Victoria are invited to participate in a survey of SEWB, containing items consistent with key categories of SEWB as understood and defined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and key demographics, administered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peer researchers at baseline, 6 and 18 months. Survey participants are then invited to participate in strengths based life coaching, using the GROW model, for a duration of up to 18 months. Indigenous life coaches provide tenants with structured support in identifying and making progress towards their goals and aspirations, rather than needs. The study aims to recruit a minimum of 200 survey participants of which it is anticipated that approximately 73% will agree to life coaching. DISCUSSION: The MTAL study is a response to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and organisational requests to build the evidence base for an initiative originally developed and piloted within an Aboriginal controlled organisation. The study design aligns with key principles for research in Indigenous communities in promoting control, decision making and capacity building. The MTAL study will provide essential evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of strengths-based initiatives in promoting SEWB in these communities and provide new evidence about the relationship between strengths, resilience, self-determination and wellbeing outcomes. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was retrospectively registered with the ISRCTN Register on the 12/7/21 with the study ID: ISRCTN33665735 .
Sleep-Related Breathing Problem Trajectories Across Early Childhood and Academic Achievement-Related Performance at Age Eight
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-06-29)
Background: Childhood sleep disordered breathing (SDB) has been linked to poorer academic performance; however, research has not investigated the extent improvement in SDB may alter outcomes across key academic skills. This study aimed to investigate if children's early SDB status could predict later academic outcomes, and if an improvement in SDB status across the early childhood years would coincide with better, later performance in key academic skills related to reading, numeracy, and listening comprehension. Methods: Eighty five case children with an SDB symptom score >25 (maximum 77) were matched to 85 control children (score <12) at recruitment (age 3). SDB severity (symptom history and clinical assessment) was evaluated at ages 3, 4, 6, and 8 years and performance on individually-administered academic skills assessed at age 8 (91% retention from age 3). Case children were categorized into "improved" or "not-improved" groups based on SDB trajectories over the 5 years. Contributions of SDB status and trajectory group to academic performance were determined using regression analysis adjusted for demographic variables. Results: History of SDB from age 3 predicted significantly poorer performance on some key academic skills (oral reading and listening skills) at age 8. Children whose SDB improved (45%) performed better in oral reading fluency than those whose SDB did not improve, but difficulties with specific tasks involving oral language (listening retell) remained when compared to controls. Conclusion: Findings support links between early SDB and worse academic outcomes and suggest key academic areas of concern around oral language. Findings highlight the need for child mental health professionals to be aware of children's sleep problems, particularly SDB (past and present), when assessing potential barriers to children's achievement, to assist with appropriate and timely referrals for evaluation of children's sleep difficulties and collaborative evaluation of response to intervention for sleep difficulties.
Risk and protective factors for the development of gambling-related harms and problems among Australian sexual minority men
BACKGROUND: Sexual minority men (SMM) often experience stressful social environments dominated by stigma and discrimination. SMM are typically more likely than heterosexual men to engage in certain risky behaviours such as problem gambling. This study aimed to compare gambling behaviour among SMM and examine potential risk factors (erroneous gambling cognitions, gambling outcome expectancies, hazardous alcohol use, impulsivity, and psychological distress; as well as perceived stigma and discrimination for the SMM participants) and potential protective factors (resilience, social support, and community connectedness) for problem gambling severity and gambling-related harms among SMM living in Australia. METHODS: An online survey, with an over-representation of SMM participants and problem, moderate-risk, and low-risk gamblers, was completed by 101 SMM (mean age = 28.5) and 207 heterosexual men (mean age = 26.4). RESULTS: SMM were found to have significantly lower levels of problem gambling severity compared with heterosexual men, and report significantly lower gambling participation, frequencies and expenditure on any gambling activity, casino table games, horse racing/greyhound betting, sports betting, and keno. However, in the SMM group, 38.3% were classified in the problem gambling category of the Problem Gambling Severity Index and 27.6% were classified in the moderate-risk gambling category. There were no significant differences between groups in gambling-related harms. Multiple regression analyses revealed that problem gambling severity and related harms were independently predicted by higher levels of impulsivity and erroneous gambling cognitions for both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Lower frequency of gambling behaviours among SMM and similar risk factors predicting problem gambling severity/harms for both groups suggests that problem gambling is not pronounced among SMM. This study adds new evidence to the gambling literature which can be used as comparative benchmarks for future research.
An Examination of Clinician Responses to Problem Gambling in Community Mental Health Services
Gambling problems commonly co-occur with other mental health problems. However, screening for problem gambling (PG) rarely takes place within mental health treatment settings. The aim of the current study was to examine the way in which mental health clinicians respond to PG issues. Participants (n = 281) were recruited from a range of mental health services in Victoria, Australia. The majority of clinicians reported that at least some of their caseload was affected by gambling problems. Clinicians displayed moderate levels of knowledge about the reciprocal impact of gambling problems and mental health but had limited knowledge of screening tools to detect PG. Whilst 77% reported that they screened for PG, only 16% did so "often" or "always" and few expressed confidence in their ability to treat PG. However, only 12.5% reported receiving previous training in PG, and those that had, reported higher levels of knowledge about gambling in the context of mental illness, more positive attitudes about responding to gambling issues, and more confidence in detecting/screening for PG. In conclusion, the findings highlight the need to upskill mental health clinicians so they can better identify and manage PG and point towards opportunities for enhanced integrated working with gambling services.
Uncovering strengths within community dwelling older adults: What does it mean for health care practice?
The aim of this paper is to present the psychological strengths we identified from interviews with community dwelling older adults. Data for this paper is drawn from participants in a community dwelling older adult study. The latter involved qualitative in-depth interviews with the participants exploring their well-being. All participants were community dwelling and living in a region in the North Island of New Zealand. Interviews took place between March 2017 to September 2017. Thirty-seven older adults between the ages of 66-99 took part in semi-structured interviews and all interviews were audio-recorded. Interviews ranged from 1 to 3 hr. Analysis was informed by the Values in Action Character strengths framework. We were able to identify strengths within the VIA conceptual framework comprising; cognitive strengths, emotional strengths, social and community strengths, protective strengths and transcendental strengths. Throughout this study we found that participants experienced difficulties in identifying and talking about their strengths. In many ways this may reflect participants' strength of humility, demonstrating modesty in talking about themselves. This study has highlighted the challenges older adults experienced in identifying their own strengths. However, the study has demonstrated how narratives can be one way of uncovering psychological strengths with older adults. In particular, these findings highlight the range of strengths, for example, bravery, gratitude, hope, humour, kindness, perseverance, spirituality, that older adults have and give a voice in highlighting these. However, more practical ways of making strength-based practices workable in daily practice, for example, in clinical assessment and health promotion programs are required.
Formal and informal support and counselling for embryo donation and receipt: An Australian qualitative study
Despite growing numbers of people engaging in embryo donation for the purposes of family building, public access to information about the process may be limited. As such, support and counselling - both formal (i.e. through clinics) and informal (i.e. through online communities) - can play an important role in information provision. This article draws on a sub-sample of nine people from a qualitative study of embryo donation and receipt in Australia undertaken in 2017-2018. Themes developed suggest that formal support and counselling provided by clinics can be useful, though can require persistence to access and may not sufficiently address needs. In terms of informal support, themes developed suggest that sharing lived experiences in online communities can be important; however, there may also be challenges associated with differing viewpoints and threats to anonymity. The article concludes with a discussion of the ongoing importance of formal support and counselling while also suggesting that informal support is an avenue requiring further investigation.