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Promoting positive learning in students aged 10 – 12 years using attribution retraining and cognitive behavioural therapy: A pilot study.

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Abstract

Background This study developed and appraised and intervention using attribution retraining (AR) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to promote positive learning experiences and outcomes for students. Aims Students identified as endorsing low levels of adaptive attributions for success and failure in learning were invited to take part in an intervention seeking to improve the academic achievement, academic self-concept and attribution style of the participants. Sample Participants were 50 students from Grades 5 & 6 (age 9-11), and were randomly allocated into either the intervention or control groups. Method The intervention educated students on the importance of positive thinking, encouraged adaptive attribution beliefs and taught positive thinking skills. Measures of academic achievement, academic self-concept and attribution style monitored progress at pre-intervention, post-intervention and two months following intervention completion. Results Students in the intervention group showed significantly greater levels of reading improvement than their control group peers. Whilst no other areas measured reached the level of statistical significance, a number of interesting patterns were observed. The findings shed light on aspects of student selection, intervention focus and the trajectory of treatment effects. Conclusion The study supports the view that combined AR and CBT interventions are effective tools that improve the learning experiences of primary school aged students.
... Since this benchmark set by Dweck (1975), an influx of research investigating the effectiveness of AR for such purposes has been documented (Chodkiewicz & Boyle, 2014, 2016aHilt, 2004;Koles & Boyle, 2013); Robertson, 2000;Toland & Boyle, 2008). More recently again research on positive psychology within a school-based context has also become prevalent (e.g. ...
... In line with such considerations, this paper aims to substantiate the favourable effect of an AR program abridged with CBT principles, as outlined by Toland and Boyle (2008). further aim is to shorten the intervention (as has been achieved in Chodkiewicz and Boyle, 2016a), as well as to alter the dimensional profile of success attributions to ability, and failure attributions to effort and strategy use, in line with current literary recommendations. This research is aimed at the under-represented secondary school cohort, and to substantiate the effectiveness of an AR program within a population sample without difficulties in learning. ...
... Other pilot studies have been successful and have led to future studies with larger populations (e.g. Chodkiewicz & Boyle, 2016a). ...
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The role of affective and cognitive factors in learning have long since been recognised as imperative determinants of the learning process. Maladaptive styles with which we perceive and explain accomplishments and failures in achievement outcomes have important motivational impact upon approach and avoidance behaviours towards academic tasks. Interventions to change these maladaptive styles are well established, although they stand to gain via addition of cognitive behavioural therapy components. A pilot study attribution retraining intervention was implemented with eight secondary school students, and their results on academic performance, self-concept and attributional styles were compared to a control group. With significant gains in some specific academic domains the attributional retraining program is being substantiated for effective use within secondary schools. Implications suggest that this could be an effective tool to retrain students’ attributions with some gains, as the reattribution technique is revisited and reinvigorated.
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An increased focus on youth development has led to an understanding of the importance of the wellbeing, resilience and mental health of children and young people. As a result there is a growing body of research, especially over the last two decades, which increasingly recognises the complexities of learning and development across the years spent at school. Alongside this trend is the rise of positive psychology, which is changing our conceptions of youth, education and development. Support for a new era of student-centric teaching practices dedicated to enhancing student wellbeing has come not only from researchers and psychologists, but also from school and education authorities, who are showing an increased appetite for integrating positive psychology-based programs into the learning curriculum. While researchers are beginning to express cautious optimism about the effectiveness of such interventions, there is a large disparity between the initiatives being researched and what is being taught in classrooms. A set of key constraints relating to limited resources, an overcrowded curriculum, accessibility of information, teacher factors and quality training all play a role in shaping the effectiveness with which an intervention is implemented. This article reflects on the recent development of positive psychology school-based programs and offers insights into how these initiatives can be enhanced to reach a wider range of young people and translated more effectively into classroom practice.
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