University of Malta
 

Volume 9, Issue 1, April 2017
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Editorial [PDF]


1) A benefit-cost analysis of a long-term intervention on social and emotional learning in compulsory school

Alli Klapp, Clive Belfield, Brooks Bowden, Henry Levin, Robert Shand and Sabine Zander pp. 3 - 19

There is growing evidence that social and emotional skills can be taught to students in school and teaching these skills can have a positive effect on later outcomes, such as better mental health and less drug use. This paper presents a benefit-cost analysis of a longitudinal social and emotional learning intervention in Sweden, using data for 663 students participating in the evaluation. Intervention costs are compared against treatment impact on self-reported drug use. Pre-test and post-test data are available. Since follow-up data for the participants´ drug use as adults is not available, informed projections have been made. Net present monetary values are calculated for the general public and society. The results show that students in the treatment group report decreasing use of drugs over the five year long intervention, the value of which easily outweighs the intervention costs. 

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2) Inferential Style, School Teachers, and Depressive Symptoms in College Students

Caroline M. Pittard, Patrick Pössel and Timothy Lau       pp. 20 - 36

Depressive symptoms affect around half of students at some point during college. According to the hopelessness theory of depression, making negative inferences about stressful events is a vulnerability for developing depression. Negative and socio-emotional teaching behavior can be stressors that are associated with depression in school students. First-time college freshmen completed the Cognitive Style Questionnaire (CSQ), Teaching Behavior Questionnaire (TBQ), and Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). While completing the TBQ, participants reported on a teacher from prior education to college. Multiple regression analysis found significant effects of the independent variables (four teaching behavior types, inferential style, and interactions between the four teaching behavior types and inferential style) on the dependent variable (depressive symptoms). More specifically, negative and socio-emotional teaching behavior were positively associated with depressive symptoms and instructional and organizational teaching behavior were negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Both organizational and negative teaching behavior interacted significantly with inferential style. Organizational and negative teaching behavior shared different relationships with depressive symptoms depending upon an individual’s level of inferential style. Promotion of instructional and organizational teaching behavior in school as well as the reduction of negative teaching behavior may be useful in reducing students’ depressive symptoms. 

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3) Teachers’ Perceptions of Kindness at School

John-Tyler Binfet and Holli-Anne Passmore                  pp. 37 - 53

The aim of this research was to examine kindergarten to 12th grade teachers’ (N = 257) perceptions of school kindness. Teachers were asked to define kindness, provide examples of kindness they had done and received, identify key agents of kindness, and rate the quality of kind acts within their schools. Findings indicate that teachers define and enact kindness in comparable ways, that most teachers believe they have a strong to moderate influence on shaping students’ kindness, and that teachers’ perceptions of school kindness varies as a function of the grade they taught.

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4) Investigation on the Practice of the Functional Behavioral Assessment: Survey of Educators and Their Experiences in the Field      

Gerardo Moreno, Mickie Wong-Lo and Lyndal M. Bullock                                                      pp. 54 - 70

The functional behavioral assessment (FBA) has been a hallmark practice amongst educators working with students demonstrating challenging behaviors. Although the process has been mandated in special education since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, the FBA varies in form and implementation across the United States of America (USA). Using a survey format, educators from Midwestern USA were asked to share their experiences as to how FBAs are conducted. Results indicated educators were strongly assured on FBA form and implementation but indicated reservations on culture as a factor on behavior. Discussion on results and suggestions for future research are offered.

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5) How do people with intellectual disability describe the experience of falling in love? 

Jenni Mattila, Satu Uusiautti and Kaarina Määttä             pp. 71 - 84

The phenomenon of falling in love among people with intellectual disability has not received much attention in research. In this study, seven Finnish young adults (5 women and 2 men) with mild intellectual disability (ID) were asked about their experiences of falling in love. They were interviewed with a qualitative themed interview method. The data were analyzed with content analysis by searching the participants’ descriptions of partner selection, the event of falling in love, and how falling in love has changed their lives. The study showed that that young adults with ID were familiar with and able to describe falling in love concretely and in a very positive manner. Love was seen as an important part of well-being. The findings suggest that people who live or work with young adults with ID should be prepared to support them in various phases of love in a way that enhances their cognitive love skills and self-determination in intimate relationships.

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6) Supporting Teachers in Relational Pedagogy and Social Emotional Education: A Qualitative Exploration    

Jocelyn Reeves and Lucy Le Mare                     pp. 85 - 98

We examined the beliefs and experiences of three elementary school teachers who, over one school year, participated in bi weekly, guided discussions of attachment and care theories that introduced them to relational pedagogy as a way of supporting students’ positive social, emotional, and academic growth. Teachers’ beliefs about the aims of education were assessed at the beginning and end of the study and for the duration of the study they each kept a journal to document and reflect on their classroom interactions. Findings revealed teachers’ understandings of the aims of education reflected a more relational perspective at the end of the study than the beginning. Seven themes emerged from the journals capturing the teachers’ commitment to fostering caring relationships in their classrooms; their hesitancy to fully implement relational pedagogy as well as missed opportunities to do so; the frustration they experienced leading to abandoning relational pedagogy; awareness of their “mistakes”; their feelings of isolation as they realized relational pedagogy required a supportive school environment and their successes. Implications for pre- and in-service teacher education are discussed.

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7) Extended Paper: Reconceptualising Foundational Assumptions of Resilience: A Cross-Cultural, Spatial Systems Domain of Relevance for Agency and Phenomenology in Resilience   

Paul Downes                     pp. 99 - 120

This article seeks to amplify Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) concerns with concentric structured, nested systems and phenomenology, for Ungar’s (2012) extension of resilience to systems based on Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 1995) socio-ecological paradigm. Resilience rests on interconnected assumptions regarding space, agency and system blockage, as well as the role of individual phenomenological dimensions. This article proposes a specific model of dynamic spatial systems of relation to underpin agency and phenomenology in resilience, building on a reinterpretation of LéviStrauss’ (1962, 1963, 1973) cross-cultural observations of contrasts between concentric and diametric spatial systems; space is a key bridge between material, symbolic and interpersonal domains of relevance for resilience. Agency in resilience is interpreted in terms of movement between concentric and diametric spatial systems at social and school microsystem levels, as well as for individual phenomenology. Space is not just an object of analysis but an active constituent part of educational and developmental processes pertaining to resilience, as a malleable background contingent condition for causal trajectories. This framework of spatial-relational agency shifts focus for resilience from bouncing back into shape, towards transition points in space, moving from diametric spaces of splitting to concentric spatial relations of assumed connection across different system levels. 

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8) Short Research Report: Cyberbullying levels of impact in a special school setting

Paula Beer, Fiona Hallet, Claire  Hawkins and Dawn Hewitson                     pp. 121 - 124

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Book Reviews [PDF] 

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Last Updated: 23 November 2017

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