213255 Courage Work in a Rural Appalachian High School: Implementation and Evaluation of a Transformative Professional Development Program

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mary Ann Littleton, PhD , Public Health/Community Health, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN
A transformative professional development program was conducted in a rural Appalachia high school. The program retreat format was shortened and content modified from the trademarked “Courage To Teach” program to make it more culturally acceptable to teachers. The program was evaluated using four longitudinal surveys, administered to participants and comparison groups to determine personal, interpersonal, and school-related benefits. Process findings include: difficulty recruiting teachers committed to the process, needing to focus content on teaching rather than personal exploration, and an overall feeling that practices and activities were beneficial. Accumulative effects mentioned included: being more peaceful, calm and less stressed out; feeling a closer bond to fellow teachers; treating self and others with more patience and acceptance; and feeling a renewed commitment to teaching. Survey data showed significant differences between participants and comparison groups in years taught and age, school joint problem solving, "positive ways of being", and numbers of spiritual activities. The participants through time showed an increase in collective responsibility, school commitment, personal accomplishment and "positive ways of being", and a decrease in levels of emotional exhaustion. Overall the findings from the study show that transformative processes can occur once activities are tailored to fit cultural expectations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe components of Courage Work in Schools Program. 2. Explain the Transformative Model of Change used to evaluate the program. 3. Discuss personal, interpersonal, and school related changes of the program.

Keywords: Curricula, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I carried out the research project funded through the Fetzer Institute.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.