Felles fokus. En stuide av skolemijøprogrammer i norsk skole
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The aim of this study is to gain more knowledge about the psychosocial school environment in Norwegian primary and secondary education. It consists of two parts. In this first part, we review the evaluations of the intervention programmes that have been carried out in a Norwegian context, and study the schools’ use of intervention programmes to reduce bullying and to foster a better psychosocial environment. In the second part, we will address schools’ use of alternative means to reach this goal, and we will investigate what pupils view as a good psychosocial environment. This report presents the first part of the study, and examines schools’ use of the four intervention programmes that are supported by The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training. First, we assess how the owners of these programmes have evaluated them, and the scientific quality of these evaluations. Second, we ask how the schools chose the programmes they use, and how they experience using them. The programmes in question are the Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme (hereafter Olweus), Zero, Respekt and PALS. Whereas Olweus and Zero first and foremost aim to reduce bullying in schools, Respekt aims to reduce a broader range of behavioural problems, and PALS aims in addition to enhance the pupils’ educational achievements. The report is based on three main sources of data: literature reviews of all effect evaluations of the four programmes, survey data from 455 school leaders, and in-depth interviews with school leaders and teachers at eleven schools using one of the four programmes. The eleven schools were chosen strategically based on the results from the survey. Main findings 1) In terms of the quality of the programme evaluations, we find that the evaluation results vary, as do the quality of the evaluations. All programmes can testify to a positive change in the schools’ psychosocial environment after the schools started using the programme, but many of the evaluations are unclear as to whether this change is due to the programme itself, or whether the change can be attested to something else. Of the four programmes, it is Olweus that has the most consistent results and relies on the most substantial research. In our assessment, these results can most likely be trusted. Nevertheless, we call for more research on how children and youths understand the term «bullying» when they answer the surveys that these evaluations rest on. 2) The second research question addresses how the schools choose and use the programmes. The results are complex, but one main finding is apparent: a shared focus among the staff is central to working with the programmes, in several ways. Whether the programme is chosen by the school staff or by the school owner, the process demands a shared focus in terms of staff loyalty and agreement. Without this sense of a common goal, the programme may not gain the sufficient legitimacy among the staff; it is important that they have a sense of ownership to the programme, as well as the skill and will to reach the programmes’ aims with the programme’s measures. To gain this sense of focus is challenging, however, especially in the initial phase. Initiating a programme claims much of the staffs’ time, and may often gain prevalence over other important work. In persisting with a programme over time, it is important that the programme owner pays sufficient attention to the needs of the schools. Working with a programme may also give a shared focus and a common goal for the school staff. In the interviews with school staff, what was particularly emphasised was that using a programme gave a source of predictability in everyday school life for teachers and pupils, providing clear rules and consequences, time to discuss the psychosocial environment and teach the pupils about it, as well as a shared toolbox for the teachers. In order to understand the work that the schools in practice do to secure and enhance the schools’ psychosocial environment, the realisation that programme work relies on, demands and gives a shared focus becomes important. As other research also has shown, it is vital that the school staff have a sense of ownership of the programme’s measures. What this study shows, is that the staff’s shared focus often will lead to schools taking charge and responsibility of their own effort in working to better the school’s psychosocial environment. This sense of ownership means, moreover, that the schools might not follow the programmes exactly according to the instructions. Measures and ideas from different sources – not only from the programme the school uses – may become vital part of the schools’ work, and the schools may leave certain programme measures out if they consider it best for their work. This «jumbling» of measures has been known as «programme contamination». We suggest that a more just and positive term for this might be «programme fertilisation», as for the most part, intervention programmes and different measures in practice productively coexist in schools. The drawback with this «programme fertilisation» is that it becomes difficult to evaluate programme effects.Dette er første rapport fra prosjektet «En studie av elevenes psykososiale miljø». Målet er dels å gi en uavhengig vurdering av effektstudiene av antimobbe- og læringsmiljøprogrammer i norsk skole, dels å analysere bruken av programmene i praksis. Vår konklusjon er at evalueringene har varierende kvalitet, samtidig som vi etterlyser mer kunnskap om hva barn og unge legger i mobbebegrepet når de svarer på spørreskjemaet. På skolene er det generelt stor oppslutning om arbeidet med skolemiljøprogrammer, og svært mange bruker dem i kombinasjon med andre tiltak. Et slikt pragmatisk programarbeid kan være fruktbart for skolene, men bidrar til å vanskeliggjøre evalueringer av det enkelte programs effekter. Prosjektet er et samarbeid mellom AFI og NOVA og finansiert av Utdanningsdirektoratet.