Chapters

Allen, K., Vella-Brodrick, D., & Waters, L. (2017)

Chapter: School belonging and the role of social and emotional competencies in fostering an adolescent’s sense of connectedness to their school: P.83-99. In E. Frydenberg & A. Martin. Social and Emotional Learning in the Australasian Context. Melb AU: Springer Social Sciences

Around the globe, there is a growing awareness of the importance of addressing students’ social and emotional development and wellbeing during schooling. Although the bulk of the work in this area has been conducted in North America and Europe, there is now a burgeoning interest in this topic in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific. This book is the first ever to provide a timely and important collection of diverse perspectives on and approaches to social and emotional learning in the Australian and Asia Pacific context. Adopting a broad view of social and emotional learning, the book explores positive psychology, belonging, teachers’ professional development, pre-service training and post-initial training in Australia and in neighbouring communities such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji, and other Pacific nations. 

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This chapter highlights the importance of effective communication to build alliance and establishing clear intervention planning. Jenny presented for counselling on recommendation from her general medical practitioner, for symptoms of low mood and anxiety over past three years. Jenny experienced depressive and anxiety symptoms, on a daily basis, for the past two years. She also reported feeling fatigued, unmotivated, sadness, poor concentration, and hopelessness on most days. Depressive symptoms, including fatigue and poor concentration, affected Jenny's work performance. A detailed risk assessment revealed that Jenny has never engaged in deliberate self-harm (DSH). Clinical research, including meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials demonstrate that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an effective intervention for supporting the treatment of depression in adults. Behavioural Activation (BA) is a core component of CBT, found to effectively treat depression. Given the level of her distress, Jenny was diagnosed with mild anxious distress; and late onset. Jenny attended 12 sessions and showed a willingness to engage in therapy.

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Specific learning disorders (SLDs) are neurodevelopmental disorders involving biological origins, which disrupt the normal acquisition of learning. SLDs are caused and influenced by factors such as genetic predisposition, neurological processing patterns, and environmental factors. The learning and emotional challenges associated with SLDs can be successfully managed if individuals are provided appropriate accommodations and support, and if their achievements in other areas are nurtured and celebrated. Ben was born in Sydney. Ben's developmental milestones were reported to be within normal limits. Ben's performance indicates problematic reading fluency. Reading and spelling difficulties may lower motivation to practice reading and spelling outside the classroom, reducing opportunities to improve literacy skills. Observing Ben's performance on the administered tests, it appears that Ben demonstrates reasonable phonological processing skill. The Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory is an empirically validated psychometric theory of cognitive abilities. Many assessment tools are limited in measuring CHC abilities identified as important factors in literacy acquisition.

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This chapter brings together the main themes and findings from all the studies in this book. Boyle and Allen re-emphasise the collective considerations of many leading academics in school belonging and discuss them in relation to the wider literature. Taking cognisance of various findings, it is clear that, across many geographical boundaries, there is little emphasis and understanding as to the consequences of a lack of belonging in school for many students. Building psychologically robust students is a task undertaken by many people and agencies but, there can be no doubt, that this should be a kernel objective of the school, and rightly so.

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This chapter provides an overview of school belonging through a review of literature that describes the current context, trends and relevancy for future research. Most notable in this chapter is a discussion of school belonging in the university context. Given that the overarching school belonging literature is mainly concerned with issues in primary and secondary schools, this chapter is unique in exploring new ground in tertiary settings. There is a dearth of academic research in this area, and this chapter provides a solid foundation from which to build upon a discussion of current research trends that follow-on in the next section. 

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This chapter aims to distil the research on school belonging and re-frame it into an applied practical format that can be used by school leaders and practitioners. In their chapter, Rethinking school belonging: A socio-ecological framework, Allen, Vella-Brodrick and Waters present a socio-ecological framework for schools. The authors argue that school leaders and educators should be encouraged to foster students’ sense of belonging by building qualities within the students and by changing school systems and processes. The framework represents the importance of whole school approaches by discussing the role of governmental, organisational, relational and individual level variables in influencing school belonging.

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This chapter brings together the main themes and findings from all the studies in this book. Boyle and Allen re-emphasise the collective considerations of many leading academics in school belonging and discuss them in relation to the wider literature. Taking cognisance of various findings, it is clear that, across many geographical boundaries, there is little emphasis and understanding as to the consequences of a lack of belonging in school for many students. Building psychologically robust students is a task undertaken by many people and agencies but, there can be no doubt, that this should be a kernel objective of the school, and rightly so.

 

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Abnormal Psychology in Context is a practical and contemporary handbook for both students of abnormal psychology and allied mental health practitioners. This text is one of the first of its kind, providing a specific focus on abnormal psychology from Australian and New Zealand - rather than US - perspectives. Nadine Pelling and Lorelle Burton have crafted a highly relevant resource, showcasing the most recent Australasian research in a clear format designed for ease of use. Written by leading researchers from Australia and New Zealand, each chapter examines a particular psychological disorder, details symptoms and responses, and includes relevant statistics, case studies, further reading and links to community resources. The chapters give equal weight to Australian and New Zealand experiences in abnormal psychology matters. Succinctly written yet richly detailed, Abnormal Psychology in Context is an essential resource that students can carry from the classroom into the workplace.

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