Drivers and barriers affecting implementation of social and emotional learning programs: A case study comparing structural barriers in primary and secondary schools

Year: 2019

Author: Romei, Katherine, Cahill, Helen, Shlezinger, Keren, Dadvand, Babak, Farrelly, Anne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper examines key drivers and barriers influencing implementation of a social and emotional education program in primary and secondary schools. Drawing on case studies of two high-implementing schools, we illustrate that whilst there are key similarities in the drivers affecting program uptake, there are key structural differences that place significant additional burdens on innovation within the secondary school setting. Findings illustrate that leadership support, professional learning, teamed teaching and quality resources work as drivers in both primary and secondary settings. However, key structural barriers present in the secondary school due to the segregated nature of the timetable with its focus on learning areas, and the consequent necessity to reform the timetable to enable true innovation. We argue that the increasing imperatives to provide wellbeing education in the secondary school setting places an impossible burden on the Health learning area, and that curriculum reform is needed to more fully enable dedicated time for teaching of the personal and social capabilities.