Objectives of the study:
The present study aimed at designing a therapeutic story making intervention to be delivered by peer mentors and evaluating its efficacy on improving reading skills and academic resilience among at-risk students. The study examined the efficacy of the intervention in effecting change both in the student mentees as well as the peer mentors.
In order to develop the reading comprehension test in Tamil, data were collected from a sample of 391 students studying in class 7 and class 8 in government run schools located in Coimbatore district. The sample for Phase II included 40 students from class 7 who were recruited based on teachers judgment. The teachers were asked to nominate students who were from at-risk background and yet made successfully adaptation. In phase III, 30 students from Phase II who profited best from the training provided to them were selected to serve as peer mentors. In addition, 101 students from at-risk background, who had poor adaptation and poor reading skills were recruited as student mentees. The peer mentors delivered intervention to the student mentees.
Reading Comprehension Test (Annalakshmi, 2015)
School Engagement Scale (Wang, Willet, & Eccles, 2011)
Academic Self Efficacy Scale (ASES: Kandemir & Ozbay, 2012)
Bharathiar University Resilience Scale (Annalakshmi, 2009)
The IPIP Big- five factor markers (Goldberg, 2001)
Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet & Farley, 1988)
Youth Self Report for Ages 11-18 (Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001)
The Behavior Rating Questionnaire (Scherzer & Goldstein,1982)
Academic Competence Evaluation Scale (Diperna & Elliot, 1999)
Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM, Rven et. al., 2000)
Personal Data Sheet
Academic Performance Record
Educational Risk Scale (Annalakshmi, 2012)
Semi-structured Interview Schedule
Method of the study:
A single group pretest - post test- followup design was employed to test the efficacy of the therapeutic story making intervention in improving reading skills and psychological resilience. The project involved developing a reading comprehension test and then using it to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention. The entire project was carried out in three phases:
Phase I involved developing a reading comprehension test in Tamil for class 7 students.
Phase II involved providing training ‘to-be-mentors’ to deliver therapeutic story making intervention to student mentees.
Phase III involved peer mentors delivering the therapeutic story making intervention to student mentees.
One way repeated measures ANOVA was used to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention programme in Phase II and Phase III. Multiple Regression anayzis was used to examine the best predictor of academic achievement at the baseline and to identify the best predictor of gain in academic achievement after the intervention. Thematic analysis was carried out on the qualitative data collected through interviews with student mentees, peer mentors and teachers to examine the efficacy of the intervention.
The evidence from this study clearly suggests that therapeutic story writing has improved reading skills as well as academic resilience among the participants. Improvements in the various domains like academic, social and personal were evident as a result of the intervention. Specifically, the intervention has had the following effects on all participants, both student mentees and peer mentors:
Helped participants improve reading skills with regular reading exercises where they read out their stories as well as passages from the textbooks.
Fostered resilience in the participants in the process of story writing that emphasized resilience characteristics.
Promoted conscientiousness as a result of increased sensitivity to discipline, planning, organization,etc because of working on such themes to make stories.
Enabled the participants to use story writing as a medium to process and express their emotions thereby improving their internalizing as well as externalizing problems.
Built academic skills in the participants via improving specific skills like identifying a main idea, identifying detail, grammar, written communication, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, phonics, generating and answering questions, visualizing ideas, drawing conclusions, identifying inferences, determining author’s purpose and understanding point of view.
Encouraged student participants to develop co-operative and trusting relationships with peer mentors and vice versa.
Increased student mentees interest to help others because of their receiving from the peer mentors.
Increased interest to engage with story writing leading to increased interest in academics.
Improved participants school engagement, school attendance and academic performance.
The findings of the present study have direct relevance for educational policies related to improving learning outcomes of students from at-risk population. Enabling inclusive education implied by education of SCs, STs, minorities as well as students from rural background cannot be realized in the fullest spirit unless their needs in personal, social and academic domains are met and problems in these domains are attended to. Today, the Ministry of Human Resource Development of Government of India has identified comprehensive education as one of its priorities. Comprehensive education focusing on ethics, physical Education, arts and crafts and life skills can be achieved through implementing therapeutic story making intervention as a part of school curriculum. The therapeutic story making intervention have significantly improved internalizing and externalizing problems, and resilience in the participants. Several studies have suggested that resilience building intervention can improve health behaviors among children and adolescents who are at-risk. The findings of the study hence are also relevant to child health.
Keyword(s): Reading Skill, Risk for Academic Achievement, Psychological Resilience, Academic Resilience, Emotional Problems