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Teacher perspectives on factors facilitating implementation of whole school approaches for resolving conflict



While social–emotional learning programmes in schools often have positive outcomes, many such initiatives are not well implemented and maintained. This paper reports on teacher reflections on the process of planning and implementing a whole school social–emotional learning (SEL) programme with a conflict resolution focus, called Enhancing Relationships in School Communities (ERIS). Ten primary schools participated in an 18-month professional development programme offered by the researchers to assist schools to develop a whole school approach to handling interpersonal issues using a cooperative problem-solving approach. Implementation (core) teams of three to five members, including principal or assistant principal and relevant teachers, attended workshops and managed the change process. In individual interviews, 29 core team members described the most significant changes that had taken place, what factors facilitated those changes and what assisted in overcoming barriers. A synthesised model of facilitators of implementation was developed on the basis of these interviews. The major components of the model included ensuring a whole school vision and process; pre-programme engagement confirming commitment and alignment of researcher and teachers' visions; facilitative programme structure and processes such as linking the current programme to existing programmes and processes in the school; leadership and support for staff in the change process, for example, through the implementation team; the nature of the programme content; and monitoring and feedback processes to sustain motivation and inform on needs and outcomes.

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