A pilot study involving 70 teachers in which key RAP-T elements were presented was well accepted and participant evaluations were consistently high. Teachers have enthusiastically endorsed the program, both in the pilot and in the current trial.
Some of the changes that teachers have made as a result of participating in RAP-T:
RAP-T challenge for the week
- Identify two students in your class you feel you do not know much about. Then make a point to greet each of these students by name and with a smile each day this week.
- Ask the students about their weekend.
- At the end of the week, note any changes in how these students respond to you.
- Implementing weekly Staff Connectedness Challenges directed towards both staff and students.
- Designing a weekly school newsletter that promotes and offers suggestions about creating school connectedness.
- Acting as a model for WISE (see RAP-T for description of model) e.g. promoting self-care & positive relationships by organising morning teas with staff members or leaving notices or surprises in pigeon holes.
- Teachers adopting the WISE language in their everyday interactions with students and teachers.
- Teacher on “inside duty”, (an innovation for the less sporty students who preferred to be inside during break ) taught a group of students to knit as they became interested in her knitting.
- Having a strong focus on developing positive relationships
- Creating roles for students around the school to promote active involvement.
- Implementing monthly celebrations to recognise student birthdays.
- Creating group projects to involve less connected students
- Finding specific roles for disconnected students in the classroom.
- “It has been useful to have the time to sit with someone else (consultation sessions) and have a dialogue about students and we can do to connect.”
- “It is nice that someone is doing something for the teachers” (not just students and Parent)
- “RAP-T hi-lites the reason I became a teacher – for the kids.” (shared by a beginning teacher)
- “Sessions are an opportunity for teachers to sit in the same room at the same time and share ideas.”
- “Consultation sessions provide me an opportunity to focus on specific goals I have that otherwise fall by the wayside.”
- “I had a parent thank me the other day for helping their child.”
- “Have noticed a withdrawn student opening up more and seeking help.”
- “My relationship with my home group is much stronger. If I am having a difficult day, all I need to say is: "I'm not feeling well today, I need you to do..." and the kids are cooperative.” (money in the bank concept)
- “It makes me feel there is a reason for being warm to students and showing an interest.”
- “I don’t get angry at the kids, I stay calm”
- “It has helped me to look at the student’s point of view”.
- “Quite frankly, I think it’s a great program. I think it is long overdue. We as teachers need to be reminded that they (students) need this kind of support”
- “It’s about helping me to remember the important focus. And it just focussed on the kid’s needs a bit more”
- “I had 4 or 5 difficult kids that certainly improved dramatically”
- “Should be taken up across the whole school”
- “I can now reduce my stress and appear more in control in the classroom”
What teachers have said about RAP-T
With school connectedness proving to be vital in so many aspects of positive adolescent mental health, educational outcomes and health-risk taking behaviour, it is important that we continue to find ways to enhance this. RAP-T has been very well received by teachers who have made positive changes in the way they interact with their students.