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SENSE OF FUTURE ORIENTATION AND SCHOOL CONNECTEDNESS : Preventing adolescents from engaging in high risk behaviour KAMILLA VARSHA RAWATLAL (Counselling/Career Psychologist) UKZN, SOUTH AFRICA
INTRODUCTION Most interventions in African and South African school settings have been focused on strengthening individual level assets and address mostly single issues such as substance abuse, AIDS, suicide etc. (Gallant & Maticka-Tyndale, 2004). These approaches adopt individual approaches to mental health promotion and are seen as a-contextual. The Department of Education (DOE) in South Africa has adopted the concept of whole school development in the delivery of basic education. The whole school, ecological approach has been adopted by the DOE (2006), in the Education White Paper 6. This marks a shift from the traditional individual oriented approaches towards ecological, systemic, health promotive approaches. Social connectedness within the school environment is central to this concept and is protective of mental and emotional well-being and can contribute to reducing high risk behaviour in adolescence.
ECOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE AND WHOLE SCHOOL APPROACHES School Management Level Interpersonal level of Influence Intrapersonal Level of Influence
WHAT IS SCHOOL CONNECTEDNESS Sense of Belonging Elements of School Climate Connectedness Sense of Future Orientation School Involvement
DEFINING FUTURE ORIENTATION • Future orientation was defined as one’s expectations and the degree to which one is thoughtful about their future. This definition draws from Nurmi (1989), where future orientation is a multidimensional concept that includes such dimensions as motivation, planning and evaluation. Motivation • What interests the individual. • How an individual intends to realize a particular future goal. Planning Evaluation • • Is the extent to which realizing a goal is expected by that individual. Future orientation is important for adolescents because it is related to decisions about one’s education, career, and family (Havighurst, 1972; Nurmi, 1991; Seginer, 1988).
ADOLESCENCE AND A SENSE OF FUTURE ORIENTATION • • • Adolescence is the time when significant decisions concerning life are made (Stattin & Kerr, 2001). Thinking about the future and oneself in the future has a bigger role in adolescence than in the other developmental periods of life (Trempala & Malmberg , 2002). Long-term goals and expectations are in relation to individual’s lifestyle (Nurmi, 2004).
ADOLESCENCE, FUTURE ORIENTATION AND HIGH RISK BEHAVIOUR
SENSE OF FUTURE ORIENTATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOUR • • • According to Brook et al, s (1986) risk and protective factors for adolescent alcohol drug use, high future orientation appeared to have a protective influence which delays the offset effects of alcohol consumption by peers. Newcomb and Bentler (1986) found that “educational aspirations” were an even more powerful predictor of high school graduation than actual academic achievement. Research has indicated the relationship between positive future orientation and psychological health. Snyder and Lopez (2005) found that people with a positive future orientation report more satisfaction with the quality of their life and could easily confront adversity or difficulty in the future.
SENSE OF FUTURE ORIENTATION AND HEALTH RISK BEHAVIOUR • Bandler’s (1986) research into why some children of alcoholics developed into healthy, successful adults identifies the critical variable as their “sense of a compelling future. ” • When a compelling future is generated, we are easily persuaded to subordinate immediate gratification for a more fulfilling later gratification (Bandler, 1986). • Edelman (1986) concludes from her research into pregnancy prevention initiatives that “a bright future is the best contraceptive.
COMPONENTS OF FUTURE ORIENTATION BASED ON THEORETICAL MODELS FUTURE TIME PERSPECTIVE MENTAL CONTRASTING GOAL SETTING • Lang & Carstensen (2002) • Oettingen (2000) • Wentzel (1989)
COMPONENTS OF FUTURE ORIENTATION : Future Time Perspective • • • This component aims to make the future personally meaningful and ‘”real” by teaching and encouraging individuals to construct a representation of their future lives, recognise the importance of planning for the future, anticipate events they can expect to experience, engage in the process of goal setting, and evaluate the possibilities of achieving their goals.
COMPONENTS OF FUTURE ORIENTATION : Mental Contrasting / Fantasy Realisation • • • Mental contrasting refers to the contrasting of fantasies about a desired future. Entails reflections about obstacles that prevent their realisation of a desired future. Supplementing a goal to which an individual feels committed with an implementation intention ( a plan that details when, where and how the individual will take action) makes goal realisation more probable (Gollwitzer, 1999 ; Sheeran, Webb, & Gollwitzer, 2005). Mental contrasting is a self regulation strategy. When people use the self-regulation strategy of mental contrasting they first imagine a desired future (e. g. , running a half-marathon) and then reflect on the respective negative reality (e. g. , inconsistent training). Mental contrasting commits people to realizing the desired future by scrutinizing the feasability of its attainment (Oettingen et. al. , 2001, 2009).
COMPONENTS OF FUTURE ORIENTATION : Goal Setting • • • Adolescent students have both interpersonal and achievement goals such as becoming a successful student, earning approval from others, making and keeping friendships, getting things done on time (Wentzel, 1989). Bandura (1997) suggested that having successfully achieved a set goal stimulates the setting of ever more challenging goals. Individuals who do not experience significant encouragement and reinforcement for goal setting and planning appear less inclined to develop a sense of future orientation.
FUTURE ORIENTATION AND CONNECTIVITY Research indicates that individuals who do not experience encouragement and reinforcement for goal setting don’t learn to develop a sense of future orientation (Marko & Savickas, 1998). Lack of future orientation leads to Research also indicates that when teachers disconnectivity don’t disengagement/ teach, motivate and support adolescents career interests, student from school. develop a poor sense of future orientation High Risk (Reeve, Bolt & Cai, 1999). Behaviour * Deviance
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE ORIENTATION INTERVENTIONS : THE PRESENT STUDY Intrapersonal Level of Influence • Individual characteristics that influence behaviour such as knowledge, competencies, attitude, skills. Interpersonal Level of Influence • Relationship characteristics with peers that influence behaviour.
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE ORIENTATION INTERVENTIONS : THE PRESENT STUDY INTRAPERSONAL LEVEL OF INFLUENCE • Students value learning they consider meaningful and relevant. • Instruction is relevant to learners when they can relate what is being learned to their future goals. • Recognises the role teachers play in enhancing students sense of purpose for learning. THE CURRENT STUDY “Learners are goalless, they don’t think of the future. . for the learners, the weekend is the future , they are aimless, goalless”. (Teacher) “Those students who are motivated, goal directed, experience a greater sense of connectivity to the school”. (Teacher)
INTRAPERSONAL LEVEL INTERVENTIONS (To strengthen individual characteristics ) Life Orientation Lesson Plans on Future Orientation PART 1 : FUTURE TIME PERSPECTIVE OUTCOMES q Adolescents who can conceptualise relations among the past, present and future possess a cognitive schema that enables them to form goals and make plans to achieve their goals. Me Tomorrow = “I will be a hard working doctor that helps others”. q Individuals with an integrated time perspective realise that they can control their futures by forming plans that build on their past experiences and guide their present behaviour. Me Today = “I realised I have to work harder, become focused and positive things happen. I am trying more because I realised to moment you sit back , you will fail”. Me Yesterday = “Last term I went from number 1 in the Grade to number 12. I was unorganised and not focused. Going down made me realise I had to work harder”.
INTRAPERSONAL LEVEL INTERVENTIONS (To strengthen individual characteristics ) Life Orientation Lesson Plans on Future Orientation • PART 2 : MENTAL CONTRASTING / FANTASY REALISATION OUTCOMES : GOAL SETTING LADDER Plot out a course of action of where you are today, where you would like to be in the future and any obstacles alongside. Fantasy realisation states that when people contrast their fantasies about a desired future with reflections on present reality they are motivated to accomplish their goals. The intervention aims to teach and encourage learners to construct a representation of their future lives, anticipate events they can expect to experience , engage in goal setting and evaluate the possibilities of achieving their goals. Me Tomorrow – Get a Mechanical Engineering Degree Weak pass in matric Bad behaviour Go to university Peers and poor time management Concentration in school Me Today – Work hard and stay focused in school. Speak with teachers and research my career path. Prioritise my time, do well in exams Get good grades
INTRAPERSONAL LEVEL INTERVENTIONS (To strengthen individual characteristics ) Life Orientation Lesson Plans on Future Orientation • • • PART 3 : GOAL SETTING • Mental Contrasting / Fantasy realisation creates the space for contrasting positive fantasises with aspects of reality leads to setting goals in line with expectations. 2. What can I do to accomplish my long term goal ? Extra lessons, Organise my work and my goals around my timetable. 3. How can this short term goal be broken down into a stepby step plan ? Do my homework Listen in class Get involved with the subject (e. g. Science Club) Interact with the teacher It is assumed that people choose goals that are highly desirable, but still feasible (Oettingen, Hyeon -Pak, Scheteer (2001). • Thus highlights that adolescents should choose goals in line with their academic potential and suitability. • Providing the space for contrasting positive fantasies with aspects of reality (academic potential) leads to setting realistic goals. 1. 4. 5. - OUTCOMES : GOAL SETTING SHEET What are the areas of my school performance I want to improve on ? Physical Science, Drawing and Design What are things that might get in my way as i work toward my goal ? Influenced by friends to do the wrong thing Not preparing well enough for tests. How will I remind myself of my goal Think about accomplishing my long term goals Pictures in my room Thinking about how I can help my family, especially my mother Thinking about all I want to have when I grow up one day
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE ORIENTATION INTERVENTIONS : THE PRESENT STUDY INTERPERSONAL LEVEL OF INFLUENCE THE CURRENT STUDY Ø Recognises that close relationships function to help individuals learn more about themselves (Flum & Porton, 1995). “Your peers, the group. . . just accept you for who you are, no matter how stupid or clever you are”. (Grade 10 learner) Ø Within the context of close, mutual peer relationships, individuals can explore their similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. “You can learn a lot about yourself from your peers”. (Grade 10 learner) Ø The support by peers may facilitate the wideranging exploration, risk taking, and social mastery that is inherent in career decision making (Blustein et al. , 1991) “Sometimes we are afraid or we can’t speak to our parents. . its easier to speak amongst friends who have the same issues”. (Grade 10 learner)
INTERPERSONAL LEVEL INTERVENTIONS (Relationships with Peers influence behaviour ) Peer Mentoring Group (Personal and Careers) Peer Mentoring • Adolescents with close peer relationships may feel freer to explore in great depth and may also commit to career choices more readily than adolescents who have not established close peer relationships (Felsman & Blustein, 1998). • Adolescents who experience close peer relationships draw upon these support networks to help them negotiate the exploration and commitment to goals and tasks in the career development process. • Felsman & Blustein (1998) research indicates that adolescents who reported greater levels of attachment to peers were more likely to engage in greater levels of environmental exploration (school resources, teachers, research) and had made greater progress in committing to career choices.
INTERPERSONAL LEVEL INTERVENTIONS (Relationships with Peers influence behaviour ) Peer Mentoring Group (Personal & Careers) Training of Peer Mentors (Careers) Ø Ø Ø To increase the availability of career development resources in the school through the peer mentoring programme. To promote the relationship between school (Grade 9 subject choice selection, Grade 10, 11 researching career prospects, post secondary education and potential careers) and learners career development through their peers. To promote adolescents commitments to their goals. To increase adolescents commitment to pursue their career development / post secondary education. To promote adolescents accessibility to career information in a context of limited resources through consultation with informed peers. Grade 10 Peer Mentors Ø Career information talks amongst the Grade 10 learners. Ø Career Information Day in the Library Ø Career Information Stalls Ø Career Information consultation sessions with Grade 9 learners for subject choice selection IN Grade 10. Ø Peer Academic Skills Development Groups.
IMPLICATIONS • The effects of this form of intervention will be measured after a 3 month interval to allow participants to assimilate and integrate thinking. • Future orientation provides meaningful opportunities for adolescents in the school context so that learners become encouraged by engaging in career related activities. • Participation in career related activities encourages students to maintain their interest in school subjects throughout the academic year. • A model to create school social connectedness, integrating a sense of future orientation and addressing the South African school context. • Shift from “once-off” career development interventions that are short term to long term, process orientated approaches that can be integrated into the school curriculum.
ELEMENTS OF ADOLESCENTS DEVELOPMENT AND CONNECTIVITY TO THE SCHOOL CONTEXT Positive Future Orientation Self Regulation and Emotional Competence Academic Skills Development Belongingness School Involvement Help seeking behaviour and peer support networks
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