The Evaluation of a Multidisciplinary Approach to Training People who Work with Students with Severe and Challenging Behaviours

By Jill Bevan-Brown, Rawhiti Bevan-Brown, Janis Carroll-Lind, Alison Kearney, Terence Edwards and Dorothy Hayes.

Published by The Learner Collection

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This paper outlines the evaluation results of a multidisciplinary training programme for people who work with students who have severe and challenging behaviours. The principal aims of the training programme were to provide participants with knowledge, attitudes and skills to enable them to upskill parents, carers and families in positive behaviour management and to facilitate the development of a collaborative, cross-sectoral approach to service provision. A research team from Massey University was contracted to evaluate how effective the programme was in achieving these aims.
This multidisciplinary training was delivered to 112 people at 8 sites throughout New Zealand. All sites had four or five teams each centered around a particular child, their parents and family. The programme was delivered in two stages. In stage one, participants received four days training in child development, attachment theory and positive parenting strategies. The child’s parents were also involved in the first training day. In stage two, participants were expected to use the strategies taught in their dealings with the child and families. Several months later a final training day was held to enable participants to discuss their progress and receive accreditation in the parenting programme. The evaluation consisted of: interviews with all trainers and coordinators, pre-and post-training surveys and a post-training questionnaire to all participants approximately six months after the training. Additionally, three in-depth case studies were conducted involving individual and focus group interviews and behavioural and achievement data analysis. The results showed an increase in team collaboration and many positive gains particularly for parents, teachers and the students. However, a number of weaknesses were also identified. These positives, negatives and consequent recommendations are outlined in the paper.

Keywords: Multidisciplinary Training, Evaluation, Severe and Challenging Behaviours, Parent Programmes

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp.359-370. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 794.576KB).

Dr. Jill Bevan-Brown

Associate Professor, School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Massey University College of Education, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Dr. Bevan-Brown is an Associate Professor at Massey University in New Zealand. She is Director of the Inclusive Education Research Centre, programme coordinator for the B.Ed (Special Ed) and co-director of the Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching. She is/has been on five national advisory committees relating to Special Education, ASD and Gifted Education and writes and researches extensively in these areas.

Rawhiti Bevan-Brown

Te Wananga o Raukawa, Otaki, New Zealand

Rawhiti Bevan-Brown taught Maori history and customs at Te Wananga o Raukawa at the time of the research. He is now retired.

Dr. Janis Carroll-Lind

Te Tari Puna Ora, New Zealand

Dr. Janis Carroll-Lind is Research Leader at the NZ Childcare Association. Her areas of expertise are early childhood care and education, and bullying.

Dr. Alison Kearney

Senior Lecturer, School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Massey University, Palmerston North, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Dr. Alison Kearney is a senior lecturer in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy at Massey University. Her research and teaching interests include inclusion and exclusion and the role of resource teachers in meeting the needs of students who experience difficulties with learning and behaviour.

Terence Edwards

Ministry of Education, New Zealand

Terence Edwards is a registered psychologist with a strong background in supporting children/youth, families, and schools in addressing high and complex behaviour needs. Having also lectured in Educational Psychology, he is currently a Service Manager with the Ministry of Education.

Dorothy Hayes

Massey University, Palmerston North, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Dorothy Hayes now works at Te Wananga o Aotearoa. At the time of the research she worked in the student learning centre at Massey University.

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