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The William and Mary Educational Review Volume 1 Issue 1 -- Spring 2013
Table of Contents Letter from the Editor
History of the Wren's Nest
Julie K. Marsh
On the Cover
The Wren's Nest The Marathon Metaphor
Should Teachers Be Paid More? Sure, But Here's an Idea!
Don't Write Me Off
Journal Articles Trading Boots for Books: A Psychoeducational Group for Military Veterans Enrolled in Higher Education
Jessamyn M. Randall Lilith H. Spry Herman L. Lukow II
An Alternate Way to "Feel Good": Interventions to Promote SelfCompassionate Students and Classrooms
Jessica Lloyd-Hazlett Megan Maestri
Intervention Strategies Promoting Academic Self-Efficacy in Prospective First-Generation College Students Kathryn G. Atanosov Nataliya Dudnytska Todd Estes Julie K. Marsh
From the Editor . . . Dear Readers, The School of Education at The College of William and Mary facilitates research and learning in a wide variety of education related fields. For students studying here, this array of opportunities grants us access to perspectives beyond our own experiences and specialized fields. As we become immersed in education, we learn that the conversations outside the classroom are just as important as the ones inside the classroom. We learn that networking, collaborating, and building relationships with our peers and professors are the foundations of the School of Education community. These experiences generate positive and powerful discourse regarding the complexity and diversity that is the field of education. It was one of these conversations that sparked the momentum to create a publication for and by School of Education students. We hope The William and Mary Educational Review provides one more venue to expand and deepen these relationships, learning experiences, and sense of community that make the School of Education. I am proud to have been a part of our inaugural effort over the past school year. From the beginning, I approached the WMER with a threefold purpose that has guided our actions and decisions over the past year. The purpose of the WMER is to:
1. Provide a venue for School of Education students to publish their original work; 2. Give students the opportunity to be a part of the process of publishing works in a peerreviewed journal; and 3. Share with the community the work being done to enhance education and scholarship at The College of William & Mary School of Education.
The William & Mary Educational Review I am also so proud of the dedicated group of student volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make the WMER a reality. The dedication, knowledge, collaboration, time and effort of these students is substantial and remarkable and speaks highly of the professionalism, generosity, and persistence of the students of the School of Education at The College of William & Mary. At its most fundamental level, the WMER is designed to be a learning experience for the students who submitted manuscripts and for the students who worked to review manuscripts and create the publication. Through feedback and conversation, we became more knowledgeable and experienced writers, researchers, collaborators, and educators. We designed the WMER to be able to include the participation of all students who are a part of the School of Education community, from undergraduate and graduate students just beginning their careers to experienced teachers, administrators, and counselors who are seeking an advanced degree. The WMER hopes to celebrate and facilitate learning from all of these perspectives and experiences. To that end, there are two sections of the journal. The Wrenâ€™s Nest is for short, more informal pieces that represent a wide range of perspectives, opinions, and points of view related to education. The main body of the journal includes formal manuscripts that must adhere strictly to APA style guidelines and represent rigor and depth in content. These manuscripts are subjected to a blind peer review process before ultimately being voted on by the members of the Executive Board. Every student who submits a piece to the journal, whether or not it is accepted for publication, receives formal written feedback on her/his work. Whether you are a researcher, policy maker, advocate, administrator, teacher, counselor, or school psychologist; focused on preK-12 or higher education; focused on public or private, local, state, national or international education, we all have something to learn from each other. Our fields are interwoven and interdependent. I hope,
The Wren's Nest
even in a small way, that the pieces published here will help you to look at your role as a student and educator a little bit differently; start dialogue about education practice and policy and how they affect schools, communities, and families; or better meet the needs of the people whom you serve. The pieces in the first edition of the WMER address a wide variety of topics including teacher salaries, first generation college students, self-compassion, military veterans and personal looks at the every day lives of students.
The History of the Wren's Nest
When the Eagle was tired he stopped, and--
Kerrigan Mahoney Editor-in-Chief
The story behind the name… A Scottish fable tells the story of the Eagle and the Wren: THE Eagle and the Wren once tried to see who could fly highest, and the victor was to be king of the birds. So the Wren flew straight up, and the Eagle flew in great circles, and when the Wren was tired he settled on the Eagle's back.
"Where art thou, Wren?" said the Eagle. "I am here above thee," said the Wren. And so the Wren won the match.
Executive Board Editor-in-Chief: Kerrigan Mahoney Managing Editor: Kristen Tarantino Production Editor: Sharon L. M. Stone Director of Marketing: Ma Hua Director of Public Relations: Julie K. Marsh Copy Editors: Amy Schmidt and Alexis Harvey
Editorial Board Angelo Letizia Paige Hendricks Leslie Bohon Diana Theisinger Victoria McLaughlin Jeffrey Christenson Tehmina Khwaja Lori Andersen
Faculty Advisors Jamel K. Donnor, PhD James P. Barber, PhD
The history behind the name . . . The Wren Building on the campus of William and Mary is the oldest college building in the United States. Gutted by fire three times – in 1705, 1859, and 1862 – the interior of the structure was rebuilt, but the building itself remains the heart and soul of William and Mary. It is for both of these qualities - resiliency and perspective - that the name The Wren's Nest was chosen for the front section of The William & Mary Educational Review.
On the Cover . . .
The WMER logo was designed by Derek Struiksma and was selected as the winner of our contest earlier this year. Derek is a full-time MBA student at William & Mary, concentrating in marketing. He enjoys traveling, photography, and spending time with his wife and daughter. Congratulations, Derek!
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The Marathon Metaphor Jess Hench
There's just something about marathons. Once you've completed one, you'll understand why they are addictive. I still get choked up at the starting line every time I hear the word "Go!" That's when the magic begins.
out challenges solely for the sake of the challenge, for the sake of pushing through it, for the sake of finishing. It's amazing to look back and say, "I did that." And because I can do that, I know I can do anything.
For the first few miles, there is great energy with so many runners close together, all excited to be starting a race, and the fans are cheering on the sidewalks. Later it calms down and we all spread out a bit, and it becomes a mental sport. My calves rock-hard, my ankles burning, my body craving more fuel... so many parts of me want to stop, to rest, to just sit down and eat pancakes and forget the whole thing. But I tell myself that even if I stop halfway, I'll still end in pain- at least if I finish, I'll have pride to go with it. So I push through, my mind reigning over my body, until the finish line is in sight. Crossing that finish line: it's so hard to describe the feeling, and you can only truly understand it if you experience it yourself. Pride, achievement, relief, success, happiness....it all swells up and I just beam with delight. That medal around my neck at the end means so much - and makes it absolutely worth every step.
As I make my way through this PhD program, I will carry the Marathon Metaphor with me. I will start out excited and quite likely run too quickly out of the gates, and later I will settle into a steady pace. There will come a time when I may wonder, "Why am I doing this?" and times I will likely want to quit. I will probably hit a wall at some point - feeling like I don't have the endurance to continue the journey. But I will push through that wall, because I know what it's like to finish a marathon. I know that walking across the stage and receiving a diploma will be more incredible than any finish line and race medal I've earned. Knowing what the finish line feels like will keep me motivated and inspired, and I know with all my heart that I have what it takes inside me. This may just be my best marathon yet.
See, the marathon is the perfect metaphor for all of life's challenges. There are times when it gets hard, when we want to quit, when we want to just sit down on the sidelines and forget we ever started. But we have to keep going - keep pushing ourselves - because the reward of finishing is worth it. It's not the medal, it's not trying to come in first - it's the sheer pride of accomplishment. Because I have finished a marathon, I know I can finish anything. I know I can overcome any challenge. I know I can seek
Jess Hench is a second-year PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program with a concentration in higher education administration.
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Should Teachers Be Paid More? Sure, But Here’s an Idea! Jim McGrath Are teachers underpaid? It depends on where one lives. In Virginia, the starting salary ranges from about $33,000 in the rural divisions to $50,000 in larger divisions. Table 1 Starting Teacher Salary by Earned Degree (2011-2012)
School Division Alexandria Arlington Fairfax Co. Harrisonburg Norfolk Richmond Roanoke Virginia Beach
Degree Earned Bachelor's Master's $43,632 $50,047 $43,910 $48,412 $44,440 $49,928 $39,214 $41,764 $38,012 $41,053 $39,712 $41,697 $36,604 $37,967 $38,597 $41,097
Though Table 1 shows the initial salary range, the bottom of the salary scale begins to widen after the first 5-10 years. Table 2 shows what the same teacher could expect after 20 years of teaching. Additionally, Table 2 includes the highest possible salary on the teacher scale for a
standard contract. Considering that eliminating summer school is not an option (to note, teachers can make between $1500 and $5000 extra depending on the pay plan – usually $22-30/hr. – and length of term – four to eight weeks), the question becomes, what steps can be taken to better compensate teachers. One solution for better compensating teachers is to add 20 mandatory days to the teacher contract. The first ten days would be added to the end of the current school year in June and involve a student remediation session. This could be used for some students to avoid summer school. If a student meets a set number of academic benchmarks, he can stay home. This time can also be used for teacher debriefing and reflection. Under the current contract structure, teachers pack up on the last day and leave without having an opportunity to look back at the past year and determine where ideas went right or wrong. With remediation, it is possible to reduce (Continued on next page.)
Table 2 Teacher Salary after 20 years by Degree (2011-2012)
Degree Earned School Division Alexandria Arlington Fairfax Co. Harrisonburg Norfolk Richmond Roanoke Virginia Beach
Bachelor's $75,299 $65,256 $74,396 $47,377 $59,854 $49,818 $52,197 $54,098
Master's $92,313 $87,450 $79,884 $49,927 $64,642 $52,307 $53,562 $56,598
Highest Possible Salary $99,063 (Master’s + 30 credits) $101,298 (Doctorate) $93,015 (Doctorate) $67,229 (Doctorate) $70,460 (Doctorate) $71,664 (Master’s + 30 credits) $60,851 (Doctorate) $70,014 (Doctorate)
8 the amount of time and resources needed for a summer session. Two more weeks would be added before the current check-in date in August. This time would be devoted to professional development and school meetings. One complaint from teachers is that they come to school for a week of preparation and spend most of the time in meetings (school-wide, division-wide, grade level, content level, etc.). There is not enough time to plan oneâ€™s lessons, prepare the classroom and meet the new teachers. This proposal suggests first completing professional development, and then allowing for the 5-8 days to be used strictly for class preparation, the most important element of education. It will lead to a much smoother
The William & Mary Educational Review transition into the school year and alleviate some of the time teachers have to spend working at home, or the late afternoons or evenings in the school building. For working these extra days, teachers would be paid based on their current contract, but generally this would result in a 10% salary increase.
Jim McGrath is an EdD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program and directs McGrath Educational Services in Newport News, Virginia.
The Wren's Nest
Don't Write Me Off Kelsey Seward
Kelsey Seward is pursuing an Ed.S. degree in the School Psychology program.
The William & Mary Educational Review
Trading Boots for Books: A Psychoeducational Group for Military Veterans Enrolled in Higher Education Jessamyn M. Randall Lilith H. Spry Herman L. Lukow II Abstract More than ten years of armed conflict and educational benefits offered as an incentive to enlistment have produced a small but growing population of veterans attending colleges and universities. These students may feel isolated from peers and underutilize existing transition services. The authors present format and content for a psychoeducational group experience that integrates social support and academic skill building. Keywords: veterans, groups, transition For the past decade the United States military has been engaged in the Global War on Terror, and nearly two million members of the armed forces have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. As these service members return from their deployments, an increasing number are choosing to pursue higher education (American Council on Education, 2009). Indeed, some service members choose to enlist in part for the educational benefits offered to veterans (Ackerman, DiRamio, & Garza Mitchell, 2009; Zinger & Cohen, 2010). The challenges these veterans face in transitioning to university life differ from those faced by their non-military student peers. This small, unique, and growing population currently represents about 4% of undergraduate and graduate students nationwide (Radford, 2011). According to the 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), student veterans are, among other differences, likely to be older than traditional students and more likely to be first-generation college students. One in five student combat veterans reported one or more disabilities, compared to one in ten non-veteran
students. Although student veterans spend approximately the same amount of time studying as their non-military peers, veterans spend more hours on other obligations such as paid work or dependent care. Veterans are also less likely to engage in student-faculty interaction and other opportunities for â€˜higher orderâ€™ learning (NSSE, 2010). On college campuses counselors offer a range of services, including groups that address the needs of specific student populations. In psychoeducational groups, members learn new information and develop a better understanding of their own strengths and personal resources. We propose that a psychoeducational group for student veterans would meet several possible needs of this population, including providing opportunities to connect with others who share their experience, proactively addressing the stressors which might impede student veteransâ€™ academic success, and serving as a nonthreatening, empowering introduction to student support services that this population might otherwise be reluctant to seek out.
Psychoeducational Group for Military Veterans Literature Review Church (2009) discussed three reasons today’s veterans are pursuing higher education at an increasing rate. First, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, passed in 2008, increased financial benefits for veterans enrolling in college from the levels previously set by the Montgomery GI Bill, making post-secondary education more affordable. Secondly, many veterans are also eligible for education benefits provided through the Americans with Disabilities Act because of injuries sustained in combat. Finally, the current economic climate makes it difficult for veterans to find employment, particularly in fields that have traditionally hired former service members. In an analysis of the higher education environment for returning veterans, O’Herrin (2011) reported the student-veteran population is comprised of, “by definition, nontraditional students,” (p. 15) and best understood as diverse, rather than homogenized by common military experience. Feedback shared by veterans during roundtables, conferences, focus groups, and interviews indicated that they value support from people who share their military experiences; streamlined communication and points of contact in dealing with university bureaucracy; and collaboration across departments and community organizations that provide comprehensive services and information (O’Herrin, 2011). In addition, O’Herrin found many veterans do not avail themselves of available support programs, particularly in the realm of disability services, and do not use all of their federal education benefits. Radford (2011) reviewed data obtained from 114,000 undergraduates and 14,000 graduates representing 1,700 institutions and found that only two-fifths of military undergraduates used the education benefits granted by the GI Bill. Danish and Antonides (2009) studied multiple reports produced by the U.S. Army’s Military Health Assessment Team, the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Deployment Services, and the Rand Corporation. These reports suggested that
11 veterans experience culture shock as they reintegrate into civilian society and that many, even those with family support, struggle with this transition. Further findings were that service members have often assimilated military cultural values that discourage seeking assistance for mental health concerns because it is considered a sign of weakness. Veterans may also be reluctant to discuss their experiences with civilians who they do not expect to be able to understand military cultural values or their combat experiences (Danish & Antonides, 2009). Several researchers (Ackerman et al., 2009; Runmann & Hamrick, 2010; Zinger & Cohen, 2010) conducted qualitative studies to examine the experiences of student veterans after deployment. Ackerman et al. interviewed a total of 25 post-deployment veterans who were enrolled at universities (2009). Participants discussed the anger, stress, readjustment issues, and need to relearn study skills that challenge student-veterans. Bureaucratic university procedures were identified as a source of additional stress and confusion (Ackerman et al., 2009). Runmann and Hamrick (2010) interviewed seven individuals who re-enrolled in college after their studies were interrupted by deployments of between 11 and 16 months duration. Through a minimum of two 90-minute interviews they found the transitions of returning to “student” and “civilian” identities were interconnected. The respondents in this study reported elevated stress levels, struggles to connect with younger peers, and sometimes encountered delays in their plans of study. These veterans, however, also reported increased maturity and greater sense of purpose in their studies after deployment. The challenge these veterans faced was the formation of an identity that integrated their military experience into their present student life rather than seeking to return to their pre-deployment identity (Runmann & Hamrick, 2010). Zinger and Cohen (2010) discussed the impact of deployment on the emotional and
12 social adjustment of student veterans, including maladaptive coping mechanisms that some of these students adopted to handle their experiences. Ten veterans of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan participated in structured interviews and reported feeling isolated, struggling to identify with classmates after deployment, and difficulties in personal relationships. Other specific challenges these veterans identified included coping with physical and emotional war wounds, a lack of structure outside the military, and being a target for negative public opinion about war. Hoge, Castro, Messer, McGurk, Cotting, and Koffman (2004) found that deployment increases the chance of mental health disorders after they surveyed members of four U.S. combat infantry units during pre-deployment phase (n=2530) and four like units in post-deployment (n=3761) using the patient health questionnaire for major depression and anxiety, and the National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Checklist. Tanielian and Jaycox (2008) collected surveys from 1,965 veterans and found that an estimated one-third of previously deployed veterans suffer from PTSD, major depression, or experienced a probable traumatic brain injury (TBI). Those experiencing symptoms of PTSD noted how this made the transition to student life even more challenging (Zinger & Cohen, 2010). Female veterans face additional challenges. Women make up 14% of today’s armed forces, and more than half report experiencing sexual harassment during their service (Baechtold & De Sawal, 2007). Kimerling, Gima, Smith, Street, and Frayne (2007) screened 137, 006 women and 2,925, 615 men at the Veterans Health Administration for Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and found 22% of women reported MST. Kimerling et al. also found that PTSD, dissociative disorders, and personality disorders were strongly correlated with MST. Burnett and Segoria (2009) reviewed successful collaborative efforts at the institutional, local, state, and federal level and found that
The William & Mary Educational Review student-veterans might not identify themselves as needing additional support for which they qualify, limiting their full participation and integration into collegiate life. Student veterans at the individual level were found to respond best to veteran-to-veteran collaborations, as military culture teaches reliance on the unit for safety and support (Burnett & Segoria, 2009). Taken together, these findings suggest that a group environment may be particularly effective with the student-veteran population. Preparing a Group for Student Veterans The proposed curriculum is designed to address common difficulties many veterans encounter in transitioning from military to collegiate life. Based on the literature review, group sessions are structured to address social, academic, and personal challenges student veterans face and allow an opportunity for veterans to address concerns with university faculty and staff. Forming the Group Groups should be publicized through a wide variety of outlets in multiple contexts. To recruit veterans it would be advantageous to combine “traditional” on-campus publicity efforts with outreach through community offices and organizations that serve this population. Since the curriculum is developed to support student veterans in transition, it is essential that groups begin as early in the term as possible. Recruiting and screening should be completed within the first two weeks of the term. Screening In order to assess individuals’ compatibility with the group, a personal pre-group interview of potential members should be conducted. The focus and goals of the group should be explained clearly and any questions answered. The screening interview should include questions about the individual’s ranks, jobs, and assignments in the military; number and nature of
Psychoeducational Group for Military Veterans deployments; current military status; current student status; and disability status. The counselor conducting the screening interview should be aware that veterans may be more likely and willing to identify themselves as “wounded” than “disabled” and should choose their language accordingly (O’Herrin, 2011). Female veterans should also be asked whether they experienced sexual assault or harassment while in the military. Additionally, potential members of this group may be experiencing serious cognitive or psychological challenges related to their military service. These veterans may not have sought mental health care or been diagnosed with any particular condition (Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008); the screening interview for this group may be their first interaction with mental health services. Given this, it is recommended that the counselor conducting the screening be familiar with symptoms of TBI, PTSD, and depression, which are the three mental health challenges most commonly associated with combat deployment. Although student veterans should not be excluded from a university transition group on the basis of these or other conditions, clinicians should be prepared to provide treatment referrals, if needed. Leadership The leader of this group should be able to recognize, above all, that group members will be bridging military and university cultures in addition to each member’s personal cultural background. Counselors running groups for the student veteran population should receive training about aspects of military culture, including the distinction between branches of the military, the system of military ranks, and common military acronyms and terms. Facilitators should also familiarize themselves with enlisted education and training systems, and benefits available to veterans (Hall, 2008). Civilian counselors may find it requires perseverance to establish mutually respectful relationships with student veterans and other agencies that serve them (Danish &
13 Antonides, 2009). Group Format and Content The proposed curriculum is comprised of eight one-hour sessions over the course of an eight-week period. In the military many student veterans learned to rely on their unit for safety and support (Burnett & Segoria, 2009), so sessions are structured to allow them to support one another. In each session icebreakers could be used to stimulate conversation and deepen personal connections among members. The proposed activities are designed to stimulate thinking and engage members to share personal experiences and perspectives. Table 1 suggests questions for processing each session’s activities. The use of homework would prolong the therapeutic effect. Session one: Introduction The objectives of this session are to introduce group members to one another, present the format of the group, and discuss ground rules that enhance group functioning to include issues of confidentiality and maintaining respect for each member’s experiences. Use of a movement activity may be a good way to facilitate members getting to know each other better in this early stage. For example, designating three areas of the room, the leader would pose scenarios and questions to the group and direct members to different sections of the room based on their answers. In this example, scenarios and questions would be a mix of personal demographic and preference information and followed by processing of the activity in dyads. Session two: Military culture, civilian culture This session is intended to help members identify and discuss the differing values of military and university cultures. During this session, group members should be guided in the construction of a model of “culture shock,” which is intended to assist in identifying transition issues, defining associated challenges in personal
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Table 1 Group Sessions Session Session 1: Introduction
Suggested Processing Questions • What are your reasons for coming to university? • How might this group be beneficial to you? • How are your fellow group members similar to you? How are they different?
Session 2: Military Culture, Civilian Culture
• What has been the biggest difference for you between your life in the military and your life as a student? • How would you describe our university’s culture? • To what extent do you identify with the university’s culture?
Session 3: Study Skills and Resources
• What are your strengths and weaknesses as a student? • What are some resources that are available to help you improve your study skills? • How comfortable are you seeking academic help?
Session 4: Social Supports
• What topics would you feel comfortable discussing with classmates or professors? • Are there any topics you don’t feel comfortable discussing even with close friends or family members?
Session 5: Juggling Responsibilities
• What are some of the responsibilities [outside of academics] in your life? • How do these other responsibilities affect your ability to be a successful student?
Session 6: Stress and Anxiety
• What triggers stress for you? • What do you find relaxing? • How do you cope with stress?
Session 7: Grievances and Successes
• On a scale of 1 to 10, how veteran friendly is our university? • What was it like to talk with university administrators? • How did this discussion change your perceptions of the university?
Session 8: Wrap Up Time
• What was most beneficial about participating in this group? • Where can you find continued support on campus?
Psychoeducational Group for Military Veterans terms, and developing plans for using social resources to overcome them. The group leader should be prepared to offer information about a full range of community and university based resources. Session three: Study skills and resources The intention of this session is to increase group members’ awareness of their own study style, explore strengths and weaknesses of their styles, improve concentration of members, and to present resources available at the university to help with studying. The activity in this session should support improved concentration. For example, members could be given a page with 12 words to study for a short time and then asked to turn over the paper and write as many of the words as possible from memory. During processing in a large group format members could then share different strategies for memorization. Session four: Social supports By the end of this session, group members will have identified people who comprise their support network. One activity to assist members in conceptualizing these support networks might involve the use of concentric circles. The innermost circle represents the group member. The group members would then write names of other people that form their network on appropriate rings to indicate how close the individual feels to each person. These social universe pictures could be shared in dyads or triads before processing the issues related to the modification and development of their support networks in a large group. Session five: Juggling responsibilities This session is designed to assist members in identifying challenges posed by responsibilities outside of academia and how they might balance “normal life” with academic concerns. A popular activity for groups with goals such as this is to construct pie charts or a “wheel of life” to
15 graphically depict where imbalances occur. Processing would include members offering personal strategies for attaining balance in their lives and additional sources of support. Session six: Stress and anxiety The objective for this session is for group members to identify sources of stress and anxiety that may be adversely impacting their educational experience. Potential stressors may include, but are not limited to, academics, family concerns, combat experiences, and reintegration into civilian society. The group leader will facilitate a guided imagery exercise to demonstrate one relaxation technique. Session seven: Grievances and successes This session gives participants an opportunity to directly interact with a panel of representatives from their academic institution and provide suggestions for better supporting veterans in joining the university culture. This panel should include members from academic advising departments as well as those from financial aid, student services, public safety, student housing, and veteran’s affairs, if the university has such a department. The group leader should be mindful of creating a comfortable environment for potentially difficult discussions. Session eight: Wrap up time The goal for this final session is to consolidate lessons learned by group members. The leader should provide group members with the opportunity to provide feedback regarding the group process and encouragement to other group members. A letter writing activity would be ideal for these goals. For example: members might write a short note of encouragement for each member of the group, including themselves. The group leader would collect the notes and mail them to group members before final exams. Evaluating the Group The effectiveness of new programs should be
16 assessed to determine whether they achieve desired outcomes. There are numerous methodologies for evaluating the effectiveness of psychoeducational groups, such as pre-post tests and structured interviews. The method selected for evaluating this new group should focus on the specific skills addressed in the curriculum and account for local contextual factors, such as the size of the campus student veteran population and availability of community resources. Discussion This group is aligned with current research on meeting the needs of student veterans, but there are inherent challenges posed by civilians offering services to veterans. Veterans may be reluctant to participate in such groups if they do not feel that group leaders understand their experiences. Becoming familiar with military customs, courtesies, and common terminology is essential for group leaders. Doing so not only prepares the counselor but also conveys respect to potential group members. Such preparation also places the group leader in a position to understand the group membersâ€™ experiences based on branches of service, specialties, and rank structure. It may not be possible to establish a truly egalitarian relationship between group members given the military rank hierarchy, but stressing commonalities as opposed to highlighting differences would reduce these conflicts. Finally, the fact remains that student veterans underutilize support resources and there is no guarantee that veterans will participate in such a group. Advertising and recruitment efforts should be intentional, focused, sustained, and proactive. Conclusion Student veterans are a small, unique campus population, and as their numbers grow, universities will need to offer services specific to this population. Counselors play an essential role in helping these students with adjustment issues (Zinger & Cohen, 2010). The proposed eightsession psychoeducational group curriculum
The William & Mary Educational Review seeks to provide support tailored to the issues known to be relevant to this population: study skills (Student Veterans of America, n.d.); coping with stress (Ackerman et al., 2009; Runmann & Hamrick, 2010; Zinger & Cohen, 2010); work and family responsibilities greater than those of traditional students (NSSE, 2010); culture shock moving between the military and civilian cultures (Danish & Antonides, 2009; Zinger & Cohen, 2010); and isolation on campus (Student Veterans of America, n.d.; Zinger & Cohen, 2010). Members of such groups can assist institutions of higher education in considering better ways to serve student veterans (Oâ€™Herrin, 2011). Finally, a group created to provide information that supports veteransâ€™ transition to student status also serves as a stigma free gateway for this population to connect with university counseling services. References Ackerman, R., DiRamio, D., & Garza Mitchell, R. L. (2009). Transitions: Combat veterans as college students. New Directions for Student Services, 126, 514. American Council on Education. (2009, July). From service member to student: Easing the transition of service members on campus. Retrieved from http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfm?Secti on=HIENA&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cf m&ContentID=33233 Baechtold, M., & De Sawal, D. M. (2009). Meeting the needs of women veterans. New Directions for Student Services, 126, 35-43. Burnett, S. E., & Segoria, J. (2009). Collaboration for military transition student from combat to college: It takes a community. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 22(1), 53-58. Church, T. E. (2009). Returning veterans on campus with war related injuries and the long road back home. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 22(1), 43-52. Danish, S. J., & Antonides, B. J. (2009). What counseling psychologists can do to help returning veterans. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(8), 10761089.
Psychoeducational Group for Military Veterans Hall, L. K. (2008). Counseling military families: What mental health professionals need to know. New York, NY: Routledge. Hoge, C. W., Castro, C. A., Messer, S. C., McGurk, D., Cotting, D. I., & Koffman, R. L. (2004). Combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, mental health problems, and barriers to care. The New England Journal of Medicine, 351(1). Kimerling, R., Gima, K., Smith, M. W., Street, A., & Frayne, S. (2007). The veterans health administration and military sexual trauma. American Journal of Public Health, 97(12), 21602166. National Survey of Student Engagement. (2010). Major differences: Examining student engagement by field of studyâ€”annual results 2010. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research. Oâ€™Herrin, E. (2011). Enhancing veteran success in higher education. Peer Review, 13(1), 15-18. Radford, A. W. (2011, September). Military service members and veterans: A profile of those enrolled in undergraduate and graduate education in 2007-08 (NCES 2011-163). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from nces.ed.gov/pubs2011/2011163.pdf Runmann, C. B., & Hamrick, F. A. (2010). Student veterans in transition: Re-enrolling after war zone deployments. The Journal of Higher Education, 81(4), 431-458. Student Veterans of America. (n.d.). Combat to college: A guide for the transitioning student veteran. Retrieved from www.studentveterans.org Tanielian, T., & Jaycox, L. H. (Eds.) (2008). Invisible wounds of war: Psychological and cognitive injuries, their consequences, and services to assist recovery. (MG-720). [Monograph]. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Zinger, L., & Cohen, A. (2010). Veterans returning from war into the classroom: How can colleges be better prepared to meet their needs. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 3(1), 39-51.
About the authors Jessamyn M. Randall is pursuing a MEd in School Counseling and expects to graduate in the Spring of 2013. Lilith H. Spry is pursuing a MEd in Community Counseling and also expects to graduate in the Spring of 2013. Herman L. Lukow II is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Division of Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology, Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his PhD in Counselor Education from The College of William and Mary.
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An Alternate Way to “Feel Good”: Interventions to Promote Self-Compassionate Students and Classrooms Jessica Lloyd-Hazlett Megan Maestri Abstract While well intentioned, conflation of self-esteem and wellbeing within the classroom has contributed to inflated grades, overreliance on accolades, and frustrated efforts to promote “feeling good” over building competence. The current paper suggests self-compassion is a viable alternative to the construct of self-esteem that shares significant overlap, but also transcends inherent shortcomings a focus on selfesteem creates. Classroom interventions to promote self-compassion, such as the blessings exercise, relaxation techniques, gratitude visits, and savoring, are outlined, as well as important cultural and developmental considerations. Keywords: self-esteem, self-compassion, classroom interventions Preparing students to be productive members of working adult society is a chief objective of academic classrooms and underlying educational policies. In this preparation, it is important that learning environments be both challenging and supportive to students to maximize developmental and academic gains. However, optimal configuration of educational environments is complex and further complicated by increased emphasis on standardization, diminished funding, and greater cultural and social diversity. Coupled with this is a widespread belief emerging in Western culture that to be developmentally healthy, children need high nurturance of self-esteem (Neff, 2009; Neff & Pittman, 2010). Global self-esteem has become synonymous with mental health (Pyszcyzynski, Greenberg, Solomon, Arrdti, & Schimel, 2004). While well intentioned, conflation of selfesteem and wellbeing within the classroom has contributed to inflated grades, overreliance on accolades, and frustrated efforts to promote “feeling good” over building competence. Self-
improvement is more difficult as constructive or negative feedback may be dismissed or destructive to students’ fragile egos. Additionally, perpetuation of bullying behaviors and relational aggression may be unintended consequences of a focus on self-esteem in school settings, as maintaining a sense of self comes to necessitate downward social comparisons and antagonistic behavior (Neff, 2009; Twenge & Campbell, 2003). With this in mind, the current paper: (a) provides a brief description of self-esteem, as well as a critique of the construct’s relevance to academic outcomes; (b) proposes self-compassion as a viable alternative to self-esteem; (c) outlines several interventions to promote self-compassion in classrooms; and (d) discusses cultural and developmental considerations related to promoting self-compassionate classrooms and students. Self-Esteem Self-esteem, is one of three constructs contributing to an overall “sense of self ”
Self-Compassionate Students and Classrooms (Humphrey, 2004). The first of these, selfconcept, encompasses an individual’s perceived competencies. Second, ideal self is aspirational in nature and refers to how an individual would like to be. Finally, self-esteem is an evaluation of selfworth based on discrepancies between the first two components, or between current perceptions of self and the ideal-self. The notion of selfesteem resonates powerfully in American culture and is referred to frequently and ubiquitously in educational policy and debate. However, in this rhetoric, self-esteem is often poorly defined, rendering assessment of contributing factors and effective interventions difficult. Within the educational field, the “Self-Esteem Movement” peaked in the last two decades of the 21st century (Dweck, 2002). As part of this, the California Task Force on Self-Esteem was formed and granted a three-year operating budget of over $700,000. The task force was commissioned to author a book, The Social Importance of SelfEsteem, to explore casual connections between self-esteem and important social problems, including teenage pregnancy, academic achievement, and drug and alcohol abuse, among others (Vasconello, 1990). However, the task force failed to establish hypothesized relationships, with most associations between self-esteem and social outcomes yielding mixed, weak, or even inverse relationships (Kahne, 1996). Further, in a large scale review of articles published on self-esteem and academic outcomes, Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger, and Vohs (2003) summarized two widespread conclusions. First, evidence suggests self-esteem has no impact of subsequent academic achievement. Second, relatively little evidence substantiates how selfesteem programs or interventions affect selfesteem. While the construct of self-esteem is pervasive in educational dialogue and interventions, the relevance of self-esteem in learning contexts is unclear, at best. Strong positive relationships between self-esteem and academic outcomes are not well established and
19 existing interventions appear ineffective. Further, focus on self-esteem appears to have unintended and undesirable consequences in school settings. Despite this status, completely abandoning the importance of positive learning environments seems misguided. Rather, exploration of alternative ways to “feel good” is warranted. Self-Compassion Self-compassion is an alternate way to conceptualize having a healthy stance toward oneself that does not involve evaluations of selfworth (Neff 2003a, 2002b). It is founded on the idea that while individuals tend to demonstrate kindness and compassion towards others, harsh and unjust criticisms are often directed towards oneself. Self-compassion directs individuals to turn this compassion inward. As defined by Neff (2003a, 2003b), self-compassion involves three interrelated components: self-kindness, common humanity, and mindful awareness. Self-kindness entails extending kindness and understanding to oneself instead of harsh judgment and selfcriticism. Common humanity encompasses seeing one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than as separating and isolating. Finally, mindfulness is the process of holding painful thoughts and feelings in balanced awareness rather than over-identifying with them. Mindfulness is perhaps the crux of the process of self-compassion, as a certain degree of mindfulness must be present in order to allow for enough mental space from one’s negative experiences so that self-kindness and common humanity can arise. While the construct of self-compassion shares some overlap with self-esteem, several important distinctions exist. Among these, as opposed to self-esteem, self-compassion is not based on self-evaluations, social comparisons, or personal success (Neff & Vonk, 2009). In short, self-esteem is dependent on external outcomes; self-compassion on processes of personal growth and connection to others through shared experience.
20 Self-compassion can be operationalized and measured using the Self-Compassion Scale (SCS, Neff, 2003a). Validation research of the SCS reveals strong concurrent, discriminate, and convergent validity. Specifically, as compared to self-esteem, self-compassion is associated with less anxiety, depression, rumination, narcissism, thought suppression, and perfectionism (Neff & Lamb, 2009). Additionally, self-compassion and self-esteem are equivalent predictors of happiness, optimism, and positive affect (Neff & Vonk, 2009). This supports self-compassion as a distinct construct from self-esteem. In addition to support of the relationship between self-compassion and psychological wellbeing, self-compassion appears related to academic goals and perceptions of success or failure. Self-compassion is positively associated with mastery goals (i.e., joy in learning) and negatively associated with performance goals (i.e., achieving high grades). Additionally, selfcompassionate students tend to employ greater emotion-focused coping strategies versus avoidance-oriented strategies when confronting academic failure (Neff, Hsieh, & Dejtterat, 2005). Given the relationship between a student’s selfcompassion and wellbeing and performance, discussion of interventions that foster this construct is warranted. Interventions Self-compassion is adaptive to academics and learning, as self-compassionate students better cope with academic failures and are more likely to work towards mastery goals. Because these students are able to take academic disappoints in stride, they maintain and build self-confidence in learning. Therefore, deliberately promoting selfcompassion strategies in schools may improve students’ well-being. Many empirically validated interventions, specifically; the blessings exercise, relaxation techniques, gratitude visits, and savoring, can be easily incorporated into the classroom. The blessings exercise, which encourages
The William & Mary Educational Review students to reflect back on their day and chose three things that went well, as well as the reasons they went well, can be implemented at the end of the school day to a large group of students. Students may keep their list of blessings in a journal at school or they may complete this exercise at home. Studies have shown that reflecting on positive experiences, or “counting blessings” daily for two weeks increased selfreported gratitude, optimism, life satisfaction, and decreased negative affect (Froh, Miller, & Snyder, 2007). Counting blessings has more than just social and emotional benefits. In one study involving seventh and eighth graders, participation in the blessings exercise had a positive impact on their satisfaction with their overall school experience and this may promote academic gains (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008). Researchers approximate that 40% of an individual’s happiness is due to intentional activities. Expressing gratitude and recalling positive experiences are intentional activities that may lead to self-kindness and mindfulness. In one study involving college-aged students, researchers found that writing three letters of gratitude positively impacted students’ levels of happiness and gratitude (Toepfer & Walker, 2009). Similarly, positive effects have been found when individuals write and then deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who has never been appropriately thanked. Increased levels of happiness (as well as decreased levels of depressive symptoms) were measured one month after delivering letters (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). Having students take time to write and deliver letters of gratitude to people they never thanked, may lead to increased levels of happiness. Savoring refers to the act of remembering and reflecting on past pleasurable experiences and has also been shown to increase levels of happiness. Young students were asked to reminisce about pleasant images using either mental imagery or memorabilia two times a day for one week, and both groups reported increases in the amount of
Self-Compassionate Students and Classrooms time they felt happy. The frequency of savoring these memories also predicted perceived ability to enjoy life (Bryant, Smart, & King, 2005). Having children savor positive events that occurred during the day may lead to prolonging that feeling of happiness and enhance their feelings in their present situation. Anxiety is often a barrier to happiness and has adverse affects on learning and student engagement. Incorporating relaxation techniques into the classroom may reduce feelings of anxiety and increase learning and performance. Many relaxation techniques have been shown to reduce adolescents’ state anxiety (Rasid & Parish, 1998). Engaging in the “feet and seat” exercise may help decrease anxiety and increase mindfulness in students, and is conducive to the classroom as it is simple and time efficient. During this exercise, students are guided through a relaxation technique in which they take time to become aware of the sensations in their body as they are seated in their desk while simultaneously engaging in deep breathing. One study demonstrated that engaging in this exercise when feeling angry may decrease physical and verbal aggression in children (Singh, Lancioni, & Winton, 2007). Many scripts, audio files, and related relaxation techniques and exercises are available for free online. There are also a number of strategies that are more conducive to a small group or one-on-one settings outside of the classroom. These exercises tend to be effective for older students who possess insight into their own actions and thought patterns. Self-compassion exercises that rely heavily on journaling, inner dialogue, and indepth conversation and dialogue fall into this category. Although these strategies are not necessarily conducive to the classroom environment, they may be useful for professionals within schools that work with students in a small group or one on one settings (i.e., school counselors, school psychologists and social workers, or other related services professionals).
21 Discussion Self-compassion affords an alternate lens for educators and other professionals to conceptualize and approach student well-being. Compared to self-esteem, self-compassion is an equivalent predictor of optimism and positive affect, but it less associated with anxiety, depression, and perfectionism. The presently outlined interventions provide a mechanism to assist students to build self-confidence in learning, while also better coping with academic challenges. While self-compassion is a viable alternative to promote “feeling good”, application within classrooms necessitates discussion of potential cultural and developmental considerations. Cultural Considerations Self-compassion is derived from Buddhist psychology. The three constructs of selfcompassion – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness- partially contradict pervasive values in Western culture surrounding selfdetermination, productivity as an indicator of self-worth, and competition. Cross-cultural comparison of self-compassion levels in the United States, Thailand, and Taiwan indicated self-compassion is highest in Thailand and lowest in Taiwan. Additionally, whereas self-compassion is associated with interdependence in Thailand, self-compassion is linked to independence in the United States and Taiwan (Neff, Pisitsungkagarn, & Hsieh, 2008). These findings hold several implications for integration of self-compassion interventions in the classroom. First, emphasizing selfcompassion may require reconceptualization of ideas about success, reward, and relationships between students and teachers. Second, careful consideration should be given to students’ cultural and family values. Classrooms should foster reflection and personal definitions of selfcompassion over blanket applications. Finally, a paradigm shift towards self-compassion and away from self-esteem may be a slow process.
22 However, given the advantages of fostering selfcompassion over inflated notions of self-esteem, patience and perseverance in this process seems justified. Autonomy and connectedness need not be mutually exclusive (Guisinger & Blatt, 1994). Developmental Considerations The majority of research on self-compassion to date has focused on adults. However, attention is beginning to shift towards children and adolescents. Neff & McGehee (2009) examined self-compassion in teens. Results indicated selfcompassion manifests similarly in this age group. As identity formation is a critical developmental task, further research on self-compassion among different age groups and academic settings is important. When implementing the self-compassion interventions described in this paper, teachers and other professionals should consider relevant developmental tasks for target groups. For example, within an elementary classroom, common humanity may center on empathy and cooperation. Within a high school setting, relevant concerns may be more global or philosophical. Attention should also be given to modifying intervention materials and processing questions/purposes. Summary Fostering student wellbeing and success is paramount to educators. However, it appears approaching this mission through the lens of selfesteem has contributed to problematic outcomes in today’s classrooms. Specifically, concerns related to safeguarding self-esteem have led to inflated grades, self-evaluations that are dependent on the devaluation of others, and outcome driven constructions of self and of success. Self-compassion offers an alternate conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. By utilizing the described interventions, educators become better equipped to assist students in adopting attitudes toward oneself and others that maintain high standards, while also
The William & Mary Educational Review providing a broader context for understanding these successes, as well as life’s inevitable challenges. References Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. I. and Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, interpersonal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4(1), 1–44. Bryant, F., Smart, C., & King, S. (2005). Using the past to enhance the present: Boosting happiness through positive reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6(3), 227-260. Dweck, C. (2002). Caution- praise can be dangerous. In L. Abbeduto (Ed.), Taking sides: Clashing voices on controversial issues in education psychology (pp. 117-125). Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill. Froh, J., Miller, D., & Snyder, S. (2007). Gratitude in children and adolescents: Development, assessment, and school-based intervention. NASP School Psychology Forum: Research in Practice, 2(1), 1-13. Froh, J., Sefick, W., & Emmons, R. (2008). Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 213-233. Guisinger, S., & Blatt, S. (1994). Individuality and relatedness: Evolution of a fundamental dialectic. American Psychologist, 49, 104-111. Humphrey, N. (2004). The death of the feel-good factor?: Self-esteem in the educational context. School Psychology International, 25, 347360. Kahne, J. (1996). The politics of self-esteem. American Educational Research Journal, 31(1), 322. Neff, K. D. (2003a). The development and validation of a scale to measure selfcompassion. Self and Identity, 2, 223-250. Neff, K. D. (2003b). Self-compassion: An alternative way to conceptualize a healthy
Self-Compassionate Students and Classrooms attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85102. Neff, K. D. (2009). The role of self-compassion in development: A healthier way to relate to oneself. Human Development, 52(4), 211-214. Neff, K. D., Hsieh, Y., & Dejitterat, K. (2005). Self-compassion, academic goals, and coping with academic failure. Self and Identity, 4, 263287. Neff, K. D., & Lamb, L. (2009). Self- compassion. In S. Lopez (Ed.), The encyclopedia of positive psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. Neff, K. D., & McGehee, P. (2010). Selfcompassion and psychological resilience among adolescents and young adults. Self and Identity, 9, 225-240. Neff, K. D., Pisitsungkagarn, K., & Hsieh, Y. (2008). Self-compassion and self-construal in the United States, Thailand, and Taiwan. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39, 267-285. Neff, K. D., & Vonk, R. (2009). Self-compassion versus global self-esteem: Two different ways of relating to oneself. Journal of Personality, 77, 23-50. Persinger, J. (2012). An alternative to self-esteem: Fostering self-compassion in youth. Communique, 40(5), 21-23. Pyszczynski, T., Greenberg, J., Solomon, S., Arndt, J., & Schimel, J. (2004). Why do people need self-esteem? A theoretical and empirical review. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 435-468. Rasid, Z. & Parish, T. (1998). The effects of two types of relaxation training on student’s levels of anxiety. Adolescence, 33(129), 99-102. Seligman, M., Steen, T., Park, N. & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421. Singh, N., Lancioni, G., Winton, A., et al. (2007). Individuals with mental illness can control their aggressive behavior with mindfulness training. Behavior Modification, 31(3), 313-328. Toepfer, S. & Walker, K. (2009). Letters of gratitude: improving well-being through expressive writing. Journal of Writing Research,
23 1(3), 181-198 Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2003). “Isn’t it fun to get the respect we’re going to deserve?” Narcissism, social rejection, and aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 261-272. Vasconcellos, J. (1990). Message from John Vasconcellos. In Toward a state of esteem: The final report of the California Task Force to promote self-esteem and personal and social responsibility. Berkeley: California State Department of Education.
About the authors Jessica Lloyd-Hazlett is a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program. She also is the Director of the New Horizons Family Counseling Center. Megan Maestri is a student in the School Psychology program.
The William & Mary Educational Review
Intervention Strategies Promoting Academic Self-Efficacy in Prospective First-Generation College Students: A Literature Review Kathryn G. Atanosov Nataliya Dudnytska Todd Estes Julie K. Marsh Abstract This literature review first identifies the challenges facing prospective first-generation college students (PFGCS) including a lack of academic preparation in high school, financial barriers created by lower socioeconomic status (SES), and a lack of family support due to unfamiliarity with higher education (Majer, 2009; Olive, 2008; Weiser & Riggio, 2010). Second, this literature review examines the positive correlation between increased academic self-efficacy (ASE) and academic achievement (Elias & Loomis, 2002; Robbins et al., 2004; Zajacova, Lynch, & Espenshade, 2005). Third, this literature review provides a conceptual framework for PFGCS intervention program development based on four strategies found to influence ASE: enactive experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological and affective states (Gandara & Bail, 2001; Habel, 2009; Robbins et al., 2004; Zimmerman, 2000). Fourth, the literature review provides implications including the proposed use of an ASE framework for existing intervention program assessment, a recommendation for the use of an ASE framework to guide high school educator and program administrator activities, and the proposed use of an ASE framework for school counselor planning activities serving the PFGCS population. Keywords: academic achievement, academic self-efficacy, intervention strategies, prospective firstgeneration college students Prospective first-generation college students (PFGCS) are students from families where neither parent earned more than a high school diploma (Chen, 2005; Pascarella, Pierson, Wolniak, & Terenzini, 2004; Ross et al., 2012). PFGCS face significant challenges with academic achievement and college access due to disadvantages including insufficient academic preparation in high school, low socioeconomic status (SES), and a lack of knowledge concerning college education (Gibbons & Borders, 2010b; Pascarella et al., 2004; Pryor et al., 2005). Parents of PFGCS lack firsthand knowledge of higher education and, as a result, are ill-equipped to
guide their childrenâ€™s high school course selections and are often challenged by the complicated procedure of applying for college admission and financial aid (Gibbons & Borders, 2010b; Pascarella et al., 2004; Pryor et al., 2005). These challenges contribute to an academic achievement gap between PFGCS and non-PFGCS (Chen, 2005; Warburton, 2001). Academic self-efficacy (ASE) is a studentâ€™s confidence in his or her ability to successfully complete a course of study (Bandura, 2000). ASE is a strong predictor of academic
Academic Self-Efficacy in Prospective First-Generation College Students achievement as determined by GPA, ACT scores, and SAT scores (Brady-Amoon & Fuertes, 2011; Elias & Loomis, 2002; Gore, 2006; Zajacova, Lynch, & Espenshade, 2005). PFGCS have lower than average ASE (Gibbons, 2004; Wang & Castaneda-Sound, 2008). Therefore, strategies designed to specifically address ASE in PFGCS should promote academic achievement and help to close the existing performance gap and increase college access. This literature review first explains the challenges facing PFGCS and emphasizes the need for pre-college interventions. Second, this literature review examines the positive correlation between increased ASE and academic achievement (Elias & Loomis, 2002; Robbins et al., 2004; Zajacova, Lynch, & Espenshade, 2005). Third, this literature review provides a conceptual framework for PFGCS intervention program development based on four strategies found to influence ASE: enactive experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological and affective states (Gandara & Bail, 2001; Habel, 2009; Robbins et al., 2004; Zimmerman, 2000). Fourth, the literature review provides implications including the proposed use of an ASE framework for existing intervention program assessment, a recommendation for the use of an ASE framework to guide high school educator and program administrator activities, and the proposed use of an ASE framework for school counselor planning activities serving the PFGCS population. Challenges Faced By PFGCS Chen (2005) reported PFGCS are not academically prepared for college when compared to non-PFGCS. PFGCS have an average GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (Chen, 2005). Non-PFGCS whose parents had some college education, without an earned degree, reported an average GPA of 2.6. Non-PFGCS whose parents had a bachelor’s degree or higher reported an average GPA of 2.8 (Prospero & Vohra-Gupta, 2007). Furthermore, PFGCS are also less likely to take
college entrance exams, but when they do, earn ACT and SAT scores lower than non-PFGCS (Chen, 2005; Warburton, 2001). Of the students whose parents were college graduates, 15% scored in the lowest quartile on the ACT or SAT: 790 or lower; 40% of PFGCS scored in the same quartile (Warburton, 2001). Additionally, PFGCS are less likely to participate in honors programs or classes that prepare students to take an Advanced Placement (AP) test (Ishitani, 2003, 2006; Ross et al., 2012; Warburton, 2001). The PFGCS academic performance gap emphasizes the need for interventions designed to promote academic achievement. PFGCS are typically from lower SES families (Bradbury & Mather, 2009; Gibbons, 2004) and face financial barriers affecting college access. Regarding financing college, 22.7% of PFGCS noted concern compared to 11.4% of nonPFGCS (Pryor et al., 2005; Warburton, 2001). Compared to 31.2% of non-PFGCS, thirty-nine percent of PFGCS reported that an institution’s cost influenced their college choice (Pryor et al., 2005; Warburton, 2001). For 41% of PFGCS, the availability of financial aid was a major factor in their decision to attend college versus 31.3% of non-PFGCS (Pryor et al., 2005). Greater than half of PFGCS (55.1%) stated they would find a job to assist in college expenses and 36.1% would work full-time jobs while taking college courses (Pryor et al., 2005; Warburton, 2001). Furthermore, PFGCS are hesitant to take out student loans to assist tuition costs for college (Mehta, Newbold, & O’Rourke, 2011). Interventions can be designed to assist PFGCS in navigating the complexities of college financial planning and will help to ensure future independence. Lundberg, Schreiner, Hovaguimian, and Slavin Miller (2007) also identified a lack of cultural capital in PFGCS. Cultural capital includes a familiarity with the traditions and cultural norms necessary to be successful in higher education. PFGCS are disadvantaged compared to nonPFGCS in regards to knowing the higher
26 education culture (Lundberg et al., 2007; Pascarella et al., 2004). Cultural capital is accumulated through associations with others, including parents and peers, who successfully attended or completed college. However, PFGCS have limited or no access to adults familiar with the search for colleges, managing college admissions, or processing financial aid applications; therefore, cultural capital is not passed down to PFGCS (Roderick et al., 2008). Roderick et al. (2008) reported PFGCS have difficulty in applying to colleges because they do not have access to college information or guidance and support from their families or high schools. As a result, PFGCS have a deficit in understanding and interpreting information and attitudes when making the important decision to attend college (Pascarella et al., 2004; Ross et al., 2012; Warburton, 2001). Furthermore, because parents of PFGCS often lack an understanding of the economic and social benefits of higher education, they do not promote continued education for their children (Ishitani, 2006; Ross et al., 2012). PFGCS must then be more dependent on non-familial adults for guidance in the college process (Roderick et al., 2008). These findings further emphasize the importance of PFGCS interventions if the academic performance gap is to be reduced or eliminated. ASE as a Predictor of PFGCS’ Academic Achievement Bandura (1997) defined self-efficacy as a person’s beliefs in his or her capability to follow through with completion of a task in order to achieve desired results. Self-efficacy is based on previous performance and provides the basis for selfconfidence, self-esteem, motivation, well-being, and personal accomplishments; it influences goal-setting, aspirations, and level of commitment to these goals (Bandura, 2004; Bandura & Locke, 2003; Perry, 2011). Self-confidence is conditional and based on previously acquired knowledge (Perry, 2011). Selfesteem refers to an individual’s sense of appreciation and value of self, but it does not necessarily pertain to achievement and goal attainment (Bandura, 1997; Lane, Lane, & Kyprianou, 2004). Research showed that self-efficacy is more influenced by personal goals
The William & Mary Educational Review and performance and has greater predictive validity than self-esteem and self-confidence (Bandura, 1997; Feldt & Woelfel, 2009; Lane et al., 2004; Perry, 2011; White, 2009). Bandura (2000) argued that self-efficacy is instrumental to an individual’s goal selection and the control exerted over an individual’s environment. Self-efficacy is related to expectancy beliefs; if an individual thinks there is an opportunity for success based on past experiences and feedback from others, the individual will more likely feel efficacious (Bandura, 2000; Pajares, Johnson, & Usher, 2007). Also central to the concept of selfefficacy is the understanding that individuals enable themselves to control their thoughts, feelings, and actions (Bandura, 2000). However, in order for this concept to be useful for PFGCS intervention development, an understanding of its domain-specificity is necessary. Research showed that self-efficacy is domain-specific and it is, therefore, beneficial to focus on ASE as a narrower predictor of academic achievement (Zimmerman, 2000). ASE is specifically associated with a student’s confidence to achieve higher academic achievement measures such as GPA, ACT scores, and SAT scores (Zajacova et al., 2005). ASE is a significant predictor of academic achievement (Elias & Loomis, 2002; Ferla, Martin, & Yonghong, 2009; Robbins et al., 2004; Zajacova et al., 2005). Zajacova et al. (2005) noted that in academic settings ASE, unlike self-efficacy, consistently predicts grades and increased GPA. Several studies focused on the effects of ASE on PFGCS’ performance (Creed, Prideaux, & Patton, 2005). Naumann, Bandalos, and Gutkin (2003) investigated the correlation between GPA and other variables, including ACT scores, belief in one’s success, self-efficacy, seeking assistance, and goal setting. Naumann et al. found that PFGCS’ GPA is positively correlated with self-efficacy
Academic Self-Efficacy in Prospective First-Generation College Students (.287), which was higher than all the other variables except the belief in one’s success (.582), ACT scores (.511), and goal setting (.353). Robbins et al. (2004) and Zajacova et al. (2005) also identified correlations between ASE and GPA. Robbins et al. (2004) showed a strong positive correlation between ASE and GPA (estimated true correlation of .496) - even higher than SES (estimated true correlation of .155) and ACT and SAT tests (estimated correlation of .388). Since 2002, additional studies confirmed Robbins et al.’s (2004) meta-analysis that ASE is associated with academic achievement in the general college student population (Brady-Amoon & Fuertes, 2011; Elias & Loomis, 2002; Gore, 2006; Zajacova, 2005). These studies supported the relationship of ASE to academic achievement and demonstrated the potential benefits of precollege intervention strategies targeted at PFGCS. ASE is influenced by students’ environment including support provided by teachers, parents, and peers (Majer, 2009; Tsang et al., 2012; Vuong, Brown-Welty, & Tracz, 2010). Research showed that parental involvement, quality of relationships with parents, and family support and encouragement are important to college planning and have a large impact on students’ academic decisions (Hall, 2003; Gibbons & Borders, 2010a, Olive, 2008). Parents’ educational aspirations for their children are a strong predictor for students’ ASE and academic achievement (Fan & Williams, 2010; Torres & Solberg, 2001). Furthermore, Olive (2008) found that with low ASE, PFGCS rarely consider college. These findings emphasize the challenges faced by PFGCS. Without family members and peers that are familiar with college education, PFGCS are at a significant disadvantage. Academic intervention strategies were found instrumental in helping PFGCS decide to attend college and to increase ASE (Majer, 2009; Olive, 2008). Four primary influences of self-efficacy were identified in the literature: enactive experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, and physiological and affective states (Bandura, 1986;
Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). Enactive experiences include challenging tasks that, when accomplished, lead to an increased belief in one’s ability to achieve in the future (Bandura, 1986; Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). Vicarious experiences include the witnessing of others’ success leading to the belief that the task is not insurmountable (Bandura, 1986; Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). Verbal persuasion includes encouragement to achieve and physiological and affective states include emotional arousal as a result of stress, fatigue, or excitement (Bandura, 1986; Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). These states can positively affect ASE by increasing one’s sense of accomplishment once success is achieved (Bandura, 1986; Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). An understanding of these influences and interventions specifically targeted to address these four categories will increase ASE and help close the existing academic performance gap for PFGCS. Intervention Framework In an effort to fill the academic performance gap and to promote college access, numerous precollege intervention programs are sponsored by both public education systems and private nonprofit organizations (Gandara & Bail, 2001). Emphasizing the use and potential importance of these programs, the Educational Longitudinal Survey (ELS) of 2002, found approximately 10% of all public high school students whose family income fell below the poverty line participated in some type of pre-college intervention (Domina, 2009). A variety of services are offered and these intervention strategies are identified as important mechanisms to increase at-risk students’, including PFGCS’, college access and academic achievement (Gandara & Bail, 2001; Gullatt & Jan, 2003; Perna & Swail, 2001). However, research showed that a majority of these programs lack the significant internal evaluation data needed to justify funding, direct strategic planning, and identify areas for potential improvement (Gandara & Bail, 2001; Gullatt &
28 Jan, 2003; Randolph & Johnson, 2008). Furthermore, some studies challenged the effectiveness of these programs by finding little or no statistical difference in outcomes for participants (Domina, 2009; Dubois, Holloway, Valentine & Cooper, 2002; Myers, Olsen, Seftor, Young & Tuttle, 2004). Therefore, a framework based upon the concept of ASE will offer educators, program administrators, and school counselors a valuable tool for future intervention development. This framework will be based on the four types of strategies known to influence ASE: enactive experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal experiences, and physiological and affective states (Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). By identifying specific intervention strategies that fall within these categories, educators, program administrators, and school counselors can then develop programming specifically designed to promote PFGCSâ€™ ASE, ultimately leading to improved academic achievement. Enactive experiences are those tasks and assignments that, when successfully accomplished, begin to prove to the student that they are capable of achievement (Habel, 2009). Successfully accomplishing difficult tasks promotes an increase in ASE and then provides a foundation for future academic achievement (Habel, 2009). Ideally, activities should increase in difficulty providing sufficient challenge while allowing ASE to build. Recommended activities include academic workshops and college preparatory coursework designed to aid the transition from high school to college education. Financial planning workshops can be used to prepare PFGCS to deal with financial aid forms and scholarships. College preparatory courses, including abbreviated refresher courses, can be offered within the studentsâ€™ high school environment or at partner college institutions similar to some existing intervention programs (Ghazzawi & Jagannathan, 2011; Graham, 2011; Lam, Srivatsan, Doverspike, Vesalo, & Mawasha, 2005). Additionally, sufficient support services, including tutoring with an emphasis on study skill development, should be provided to ensure success, as failure would negatively affect ASE. If these experiences are to serve as enactive
The William & Mary Educational Review experiences, PFGCS must be both challenged and successful (Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). ASE is highly domain specific (Habel, 2009). Therefore, program developers must be cognizant of discipline specific offerings. A program that emphasizes writing skills should positively affect the domain of writing-ASE. However, a student in a writing-ASE program may suffer from a lack of ASE when faced with pre-calculus or chemistry coursework. Existing intervention programs employed discipline specific approaches and demonstrated success (Lam et al., 2005; Seftor & Calcagno, 2010). These programs were developed to provide academic support for underrepresented students, including PFGCS, and attempt to promote interest in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In an assessment of one program targeting STEM education, Lam et al. (2005) determined the program increased college access. Furthermore, participants earned higher GPAs and reported less anxiety associated with mathematics and science courses (Lam et al., 2005). This is consistent with Seftor and Calcagnoâ€™s (2010) finding that participants in multiple mathematics and science intervention programs had increased college enrollment and increased participation in mathematics and science courses. Therefore, activities intended as enactive experiences should be aligned with the desired domain-specific academic outcome. Vicarious experiences involve the modeling of successful activities by others (Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). If peers are successful in their efforts, then students can begin to see success as a potential outcome for themselves. Program experiences offered as group activities can be impactful. Summer residential programs served this purpose (Ghazzawi & Jagannathan, 2011) and these programs
Academic Self-Efficacy in Prospective First-Generation College Students demonstrated success. Offering a cohort of PFGCS an immersive, on-campus experience, intended to prepare them for the transition to college, can offer rewards (Ghazzawi & Jagannathan, 2011). Students stay in college dormitories, attend college classes, participate in college extracurricular activities, and attend workshops on college admissions and financial aid (Ghazzawi & Jagannathan, 2011). In an evaluation of one college residential program, Ghazzawi and Jagannathan (2011) found that 95% of the 2007 and 2008 participants entered college. The cohort experience not only provides students with a measure of personal achievement, but also places them in a college environment with peers, facing similar challenges, who successfully negotiate the experience as well. By incorporating peer group activities, ASE is promoted through a vicarious experience (Habel, 2009, Zimmerman, 2000). Verbal persuasion can be offered in the form of encouragement, guidance, and positive feedback on assignments (Habel, 2009). This is important for PFGCS with weak familial support systems, as they may become easily discouraged when tasks increase in difficulty. Verbal persuasion can act as a counterbalance for students as stress begins to build (Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). This type of support is central to mentorship activities and is another commonly cited intervention strategy intended to promote academic achievement and college access (Center for Higher Education Policy and Analysis, 2009; Randolph & Johnson, 2008). Through mentoring, educators hope to improve outcomes by providing positive one-on-one interactions (Center for Higher Education Policy and Analysis, 2009). However, the effect of verbal persuasion may be negated if it is used as the sole strategy rather than a single piece of the larger framework. Dubois et al.â€™s (2002) meta-analysis of youth mentoring program evaluations found some benefit for program participants. Therefore, verbal persuasion should play a key role in
intervention strategies, but its effect also depends on the success of enactive and vicarious activities. Vancouver and Kendall (2006), Vancouver, More, and Yoder (2008), and Vancouver, Thompson, Tischner, and Putka (2002), further highlighted the dangers of employing short-term ASE strategies in laboratory studies designed to promote ASE through planned positive outcomes in a single day testing series. Vancouver and Kendall (2006), Vancouver et al. (2008), and Vancouver et al. (2002) found that despite providing participants with positive experiences aimed at increasing their ASE, there was no improvement in academic achievement and a negative correlation was found between ASE and academic achievement. It should be understood that Vancouverâ€™s studies were performed in a laboratory setting, his methods emphasized shortterm impacts, and the preponderance of existing literature supports a positive correlation between ASE and academic achievement. However, Vancouverâ€™s findings help emphasize the importance of employing a long-term integrated strategy in an academic setting designed to incorporate experiences within each of the framework categories if increased ASE is to persist for PFGCS. Finally, physiological and affective states should be understood and impactful experiences should be designed to trigger desired states (Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). Successes are more impactful if they involve emotion or excitement (Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). Therefore, positive outcomes can be derived from physiological and affective states including stress, fatigue, emotion, and excitement (Keeley, Zayac, & Correia, 2008; Zimmerman, 2000). Stress can serve as a motivator and, when moderated by other strategies including verbal persuasion and academic support services, students can achieve great satisfaction from successfully overcoming challenges, thus becoming an enactive experience (Keeley et al., 2008; Habel, 2009; Zimmerman, 2000). Excitement and emotional responses can be encouraged by offering opportunities for
30 PFGCS to engage in activities within new and unfamiliar surroundings. PFGCS, typically unfamiliar with college environments, can benefit from residential college campus activities such as staying in a dormitory, eating in a dining hall, visiting a campus library, and attending a college class, creating a greater emotional reaction than witnessed in students with greater college familiarity (Ghazzawi & Jagannathan, 2011; Graham, 2011; Gullatt & Jan, 2003; Seftnor & Calcagno, 2010). Therefore, intervention strategies directed at PFGCS should seek to promote positive emotional responses through college immersive experiences while cognizant of potential negative consequences. Stress and excitement can be powerful tools in promoting student motivation and academic achievement, but if excessive, these emotions may have detrimental effects (Keeley et al., 2008). Conclusions In order to promote academic achievement and college access for PFGCS, this literature review defines the challenges faced by PFGCS and offers a framework based on the concept of ASE for intervention program development. PFGCS are less academically prepared for college than non-PFGCS; have lower GPA, ACT scores, and SAT scores; and typically come from lower SES families (Gibbons & Borders, 2010b; Majer, 2009; Olive, 2008; Weiser & Riggio, 2010). Moreover, PFGCSâ€™ ASE is lower due to a lack of family support and guidance through the college application and entrance process (Chen, 2005; Elias and Loomis, 2002; Pascarella et al., 2004; Ross et al., 2012). This literature review identifies ASE as one of the most influential factors affecting studentsâ€™ academic achievement (Brady-Amoon & Fuertes, 2011; Elias & Loomis, 2002; Gore, 2006; Zajacova, 2005). Therefore, pre-college intervention strategies that are used to increase ASE of PFGCS will help them reach desired academic achievement and gain college access. Educators, program administrators, and school counselors will benefit from the offered framework by using it to develop specific intervention strategies for PFGCS. This framework is based on four types of strategies that promote ASE (Gandara
The William & Mary Educational Review & Bail, 2001; Habel, 2009; Robbins et al., 2004; Zimmerman, 2000). Recommended enactive experiences include such activities as academic workshops, financial planning workshops, college preparatory coursework, abbreviated refresher courses, and tutoring. Recommended vicarious experiences include summer camps and college campus experiences. Recommended verbal experiences include mentorship activities. Recommended activities influencing physiological and affective states include directed experiences within new and unfamiliar surroundings (Gandara & Bail, 2001; Habel, 2009; Robbins et al., 2004; Zimmerman, 2000). Implications Intervention programs were criticized for the lack of rigorous assessment needed to justify funding, direct strategic planning, and identify areas for improvement (Gandara & Bail, 2001; Gullatt & Jan, 2003; Randolph & Johnson, 2008). Furthermore, some studies challenged the effectiveness of these programs by finding little or no statistical difference in outcomes (Domina, 2009; Dubois et al., 2002; Myers et al., 2004). An implication stemming from this literature review suggests using the framework provided to strengthen overall assessment of current intervention programs. Measuring the effects of specific program activities on ASE can then guide program improvements. Another implication that arises from research findings is the role and function that educators and program administrators can provide to increase the ASE of PFGCS. Educators and program administrators have a responsibility to nurture the ASE of PFGCS, given the research that increased ASE promotes academic achievement. For instance, educators can customize PFGCSâ€™ planning to ensure learning and academic achievement, as well as offer positive
Academic Self-Efficacy in Prospective First-Generation College Students encouragement. Knowing each PFGCS’ capabilities and personalities, educators can create individualized tasks and activities that are challenging, but can be accomplished successfully. In so doing, educators should offer frequent and supportive feedback as PFGCS are engaged in the tasks. PFGCS will feel empowered by believing that they can do the work, resulting in higher ASE. Also, PFGCS will not feel as compelled to compare themselves to their non-PFGCS peers if they have their own standards of academic achievement. Additionally, program administrators are responsible for PFGCS’ ASE and academic achievement. Investment in PFGCS’ academic achievement requires institutional responsibility, and it is the responsibility of program administrators to align classroom practices and intervention strategies with PFGCS’ academic goals. Program administrators should implement programs that focus on community service and leadership experience to further enhance PFGCS’ academic experience and provide additional opportunities for PFGCS’ qualifications for college access. The framework provided in this literature review may be used by educators and program administrators to develop integrated intervention approaches specifically designed to improve ASE in PFGCS. As this literature review notes, parental involvement is also an influential factor for increasing ASE in PFGCS. School counselors can use the intervention framework to promote parental involvement in the schools and in their PFGCS’ academic goals. School counselors could conduct parent workshops on college planning, career opportunities, how to provide positive encouragement for their children, and strategies to help their children with schoolwork. While the importance of parent workshops is evident, school counselors should also implement PFGCS-based workshops to address college access, college as a cultural experience and not just a means to an end (e.g., finding a job and/or starting a career), and tackle the issues PFGCS face with their familial support systems. School
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About the authors Kathryn G. Atanasov is a PhD student in the School Psychology and Counselor Education program, focusing on counselor education. Nataliya Dudnytska is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on gifted students education administration. Todd Estes is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on higher education administration. Julie K. Marsh is a PhD student in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership program, focusing on curriculum and educational technology.
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