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University of Manchester

In November 2010 a team at the University of Manchester reported their findings – teaching SEAL in schools doesn’t make any difference. Or at least, that’s what the media would have us believe. Closer reading of the report reveals that the teaching of Emotional Literacy is as dependent on the school and the teachers as it is on the content.

The failures, according to Professor Neil Humphrey, Ann Lendrum and Michael Wigelsworth – all from the University’s School of Education – are caused – among other factors – by a poor allocation of resources and time to staff and a failure to act on the findings of pilot studies.

There was also no clear framework to work from in implementing the programme, they added.

Antidote tells us –

Humphrey says that several of the schools examined took ‘a somewhat superficial approach to implementation’ and that an initial spike of
‘energy, enthusiasm and activity’ was often followed by a gradual drop-off in activity… ‘ The result was, he says, that SEAL was ‘essentially what individual schools made of it rather than being a single, consistently definable entity. He says that US evidence from programmes such as PATHS and Second Step argues that ‘programme fidelity is crucial in determining the success and impact of interventions’ and suggests basically that schools need to adopt ‘a coherent, structured and explicit model to follow from the outset’ rather than continuing to use SEAL.”

In our experience this is true; we have seen that no programme is going to work unless committed, trained teachers use it consistently. We know that when this happens, when it “becomes part of the-way-we-do-things-around-here

VisionWorks for Schools really does make a difference.


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