During the school year, 2018-2019 UPRIGHT implemented the first version of its Well-being for us programme in the 5 pilot sites: Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Poland, and Spain. By adopting a whole-school approach, UPRIGHT provided training on resilience to its 3 main groups of stakeholders: adolescents (aged 12-14), families and teachers/school staff. The effect of the UPRIGHT intervention is measured by comparing the level of stakeholders’ well-being (derived from scores on mental well-being questionnaires delivered before and after the intervention) in the schools assigned to the intervention condition with similar groups of stakeholders assigned to the control condition (who do not receive the intervention, but fill in the same questionnaires at the same time points).
In the first part of the school year teachers in the intervention, schools received training on the UPRIGHT components and skills (coping, efficacy, social-emotional learning, mindfulness) provided by the UPRIGHT local trainers. In most pilot sites the local trainers also organised a number of face-to-face training sessions with families and, additionally, families in all sites were invited to visit the UPRIGHT online platform (www.uprightprogram.eu) to access training materials on the UPRIGHT Well-being for us program. In the second part of the school year, adolescents (aged 12-14) of the intervention schools received the UPRIGHT training by their teachers/school staff, as dedicated sessions included in their school programme.
The training on resilience skills provided to adolescents included 18 sessions and teachers could choose to add 6 more sessions to deepen the learning on preferred or most needed skills, according to regional interests. Each session was structured so as to include: a recall of the previous lesson, food for thoughts, an introduction to the selected skill of the lesson, an illustration of the skill (by dilemmas, stories, videos…), exercises for hands-on experiences with the skills, a mindfulness exercise to foster presence and attention, ending with a transfer exercise on how to apply that skill in daily life.
For the UPRIGHT local teams, this first edition and implementation of the UPRIGHT Well-being for us programme was a demanding but also a very exciting experience. The participation of teachers/school staff in the training was enthusiastic and well beyond the target number (290 teachers attended the training, over the 75 participants’ original target number). More than one thousand families accessed the UPRIGHT online platform to download the training materials. Adolescents also engaged well with the UPRIGHT programme, they appreciated in particular aspects of the teaching such as the dilemmas method, the group discussions, the stories, photos, and videos provided.
The participation of control schools in the first UPRIGHT edition was also very important to reach the objective of our research project.
There were so many lessons learnt during this first year of UPRIGHT implementation that the local teams have shared within the consortium and are already using to launch the second edition of the intervention. As an example, in the second edition, the training of teachers/school staff will start-end earlier so as to leave more time to the training of adolescents, according to the needs and preferences of the participating schools and classes. The UPRIGHT local teams will keep on monitoring the implementation of UPRIGHT programme also in the second edition to make the quality of the training materials and experience provided up to the stakeholders’ expectations, so as to facilitate the building of a real resilience culture in the UPRIGHT school communities.
Silvia Gabrielli, PhD – UPRIGHT WP4 Lead – FBK, Italy