Vol. 1, Issue 1, April 2009
- Social, emotional and behaviour difficulties in Maltese schools
Carmel Cefai, Paul Cooper and Liberato Camilleri
pp. 8 - 49
This paper presents the result of a national study on social, emotional and behaviour difficulties (SEBD) in Maltese schools, the first one of the kind in Malta. The study made use of ten percent of the school population in over one hundred state and non-state primary and secondary schools in Malta and Gozo, with seven thousand students, their parents and teachers selected to participate in the study. It sought to explore the nature and distribution of SEBD in Maltese schools, examine the relationships between SEBD and socio-cultural factors as reflected in the school, family and community contexts, and identify the risk and protective factors for SEBD. This paper presents the key findings of the study, and makes various recommendations in the prevention and management of SEBD and the promotion of socio-emotional literacy in schools. A key message is the complexity and multifacetedness of this phenomenon, and the need for multilevel, multisystemic interventions.
- Managing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in schools in the Netherlands
pp. 50 - 63
Three key aspects of the school environment are crucial for the prevention and management of social, emotional, and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) in schools. These include an adequate instructional environment, a supportive social-emotional climate, and a systematic process of identification and intervention. This paper addresses these critical aspects by presenting results from two studies in primary education in The Netherlands. According to teachers, one in six pupils in mainstream primary schools exhibits some kind of SEBD. Severe cases of aggressive behaviour or ADHD present the greatest difficulties for teachers. The focus in mainstream schools is on the provision of a supportive social-emotional environment and on the identification of SEBD, with little attention to an adequate instructional environment or consistent interventions. This paper describes a systematic approach to the prevention and early intervention of SEBD which will address this issue.
- Improving services for pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties: responding to the challenges
Peter Farrell and Neil Humphrey
pp. 64 - 82
This paper considers some of the major challenges facing key stakeholders, including teachers, professionals working in support services, parents and pupils, as they strive to improve services for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). For each of these challenges (working with families, low educational attainments, including pupils with SEBD in mainstream schools, transition from school to college or employment, early intervention and prevention) we review research evidence, mainly from the UK and USA, and discuss possible solutions. A key theme in the paper, discussed in the concluding section, is that governments, local authorities and schools, should use the research evidence to develop carefully planned and evidence based interventions that will lead to sustained improvements being made in the education of these vulnerable young people.
- Identifying and Engaging 'Disengaged' and 'Disruptive' Students
pp. 83 - 95
This paper outlines concerns in the UK about young people who are disruptive in class and/or disengaged from the normal educational process. After discussing who these children are and estimating their numbers, the paper examines recent research on how best to meet their needs. This research indicates the appropriateness of the UK government's recent softening of its position on 'inclusion'. The studies cited indicate that far more can be done in 'normal' school settings to promote engagement but that special provision can sometimes be more appropriate. If social inclusion as adults is the overarching aim, what matters more than the physical location of the education offered are the qualities, skills, commitment and energies of the professionals involved. The values of staff, the quality of their relationships with the children and young people, and their imaginative, flexible delivery of appropriate curricula are crucial, as is the need to support these professionals in their demanding task.
- Implementing and Evaluating Empirically Based Family and School Programmes for Children with Conduct Problems in Norway
Terje Ogden and Mari-Anne Sorlie
pp. 96 - 107
This paper discusses the implementation and evaluation of two family and school based intervention programmes for children and young people in Norway, namely Parent Management Training (PMTO, Ogden & Amlund Hagen, in press) and PALS (Sorlie & Ogden, 2007), a school-wide intervention programme. PALS was organised as a universal intervention for the whole school combined with PMTO for parents of the high risk children. The Norwegian experiences and results illustrate how evidence-based programs developed in the US have been transported across geographical and language borders, implemented nationwide, evaluated for their effectiveness in regular practice and examined for sustainability. This paper describes this national strategy, and the main components and immediate outcomes of the PMTO- and PALS-programmes in Norway.
- Engaging students with ADHD in mainstream education: lessons from children, parents and teachers
pp. 108 - 117
The move towards inclusive education in the UK (DfEE, 1997; DfE, 2004), and more recently integrated working (DfEE 2003), has resulted in the development of a national framework calling for a change to the way organizations meet the needs of children. The Children Act (DfEE 2004a) provides the legal framework to legislate for these changes at national and local levels, and local service providers are required to work in partnership to provide a coordinated and coherent system of support aligned to the child's evolving needs. This paper reports on empirical findings taken from interviews with children with ADHD, their teachers and parents, to highlight what they perceive to be effective in providing support for the children in their learning environment. Examples are drawn from environmental, personal, organizational and structural factors that are believed to influence the children's behaviour. Suggestions are made over areas that need to be considered when setting up integrated services and how these can influence effective support for children.