Serving to particular training lecturers below stress
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. – Special education teachers are exposed to an increased risk of stress and burnout, which has a negative effect on their effectiveness and well-being. With a new five-year grant of 4 million CARE) further training program to support special education teachers.
More than 220 special education teachers in elementary schools in the greater Atlanta area will participate in a study that includes three days of CARE training to practice skills such as mindfulness, caring and compassion for yourself and others, and to manage the stress in the classroom. You will also attend monthly virtual check-in meetings throughout the school year.
“Special educators can experience stress from working in different classrooms across classes. They often have massive paperwork and many meetings in addition to working with their students,” said Jennifer Frank, Penn State associate professor of education (school psychology and special education) and lead investigator on the project . “They often deal with challenging student behavior and in some cases are even afraid of verbal or physical abuse by the students.”
In addition to measuring the results of teachers, students and classrooms, the study will determine the cost effectiveness of the CARE program in a special education setting. Frank suggested that reducing burnout could lead to more special education teachers staying in the profession, which benefits both students and the school system.
The CARE program has resulted in more emotionally positive classrooms and improved emotional regulation and physical health for teachers, according to a previous study by the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at the University of Virginia and Fordham University. Elementary school teachers who took part in the study also said they felt less rushed and less overwhelmed by paperwork.
“CARE recognizes that the ability of teachers to function is essential to an effective, warm and responsive classroom,” said Andrew Roach, Associate Professor of School Psychology at HSE and co-lead researcher on the project. “It is important to address the teachers’ emotional awareness, resilience and wellbeing as they act as support and role models for the children they work with.”
Roach emphasized the benefits of self-compassion for teachers.
“I wish I had an education like CARE when I was a primary school teacher,” he said. “Teachers have great ambitions to make a difference for children, and we can be very hard on ourselves if we don’t. Allowing teachers to stand up and have compassion for the children is a huge contribution we make be able.”
“We hope that with this project we can help to create an environment of compassion for our fellow human beings, be it for teachers, students, administrators, colleagues or parents,” added Frank.
The research team works with Mark Greenberg and Christa Turksma from CREATE for Education, the nonprofit that markets and implements the CARE program. To adapt the CARE program to the needs of special education teachers, researchers will consult with Bonnie Billingsley, Professor of Education at Virginia Tech. Tamika La Salle, Associate Professor of School Psychology at the University of Connecticut, will advise the team on culturally engaging educational practices. Patricia Jennings, Professor of Education at the University of Virginia and lead developer of the CARE program, will also advise the project.
Co-investigators on the project are Deb Schussler, Associate Professor of Education at Penn State; Damon Jones, Penn State Associate Professor of Health and Human Development; and Emily Graybill, HSE Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Leadership in Disability. Penn State Graduate Research Fellows Sebrina Doyle, Marisa DeCollibus, Catherine Jantzer, and Joseph Brandenburg will contribute to the project. The Center for Leadership in Disability staff, Molly Tucker and Sonia Sanchez-Alverez, as well as HSE graduates Jhanelle Adams, Joanna Satterwhite and Jonathan Nguyen will also contribute to the project.