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Article

Enhancing Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Boarding Students: Evaluation of a Social and Emotional Learning Pilot Program

1
Psychology Department, College of Health and Human Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin 0810, Australia
2
Perth Psychological Services, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth 6102, Australia
3
Youth Research Centre, Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
4
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra 2617, Australia
5
Menzies School of Health Research, Centre for Child Development and Education, Darwin 0810, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030771
Received: 24 December 2019 / Revised: 10 January 2020 / Accepted: 21 January 2020 / Published: 26 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indigenous Health Wellbeing)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aboriginal peoples; social and emotional learning; students; boarding school; Australia Aboriginal peoples; social and emotional learning; students; boarding school; Australia
MDPI and ACS Style

Franck, L.; Midford, R.; Cahill, H.; Buergelt, P.T.; Robinson, G.; Leckning, B.; Paton, D. Enhancing Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Boarding Students: Evaluation of a Social and Emotional Learning Pilot Program. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 771. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030771

AMA Style

Franck L, Midford R, Cahill H, Buergelt PT, Robinson G, Leckning B, Paton D. Enhancing Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Boarding Students: Evaluation of a Social and Emotional Learning Pilot Program. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(3):771. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030771

Chicago/Turabian Style

Franck, Linél; Midford, Richard; Cahill, Helen; Buergelt, Petra T.; Robinson, Gary; Leckning, Bernard; Paton, Douglas. 2020. "Enhancing Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Boarding Students: Evaluation of a Social and Emotional Learning Pilot Program" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 3: 771. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030771

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