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Prevention of school adjustment difficulties

Adapting to high school is a significant challenge for academically at-risk students. In 2006, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) created a “resource teachers” (RT) program to help students meet this challenge.

The RT program provides at-risk students identified by the high school with one-on-one mentorship from experienced teachers. The little research that has been done into this preventive approach has been inconclusive as to its impact on school success and has highlighted the need to provide better training for the teachers who provide this service.

Adapting to high school is a significant challenge for academically at-risk students.

We developed, implemented and evaluated the ACCES Program (ACCompagnement par des Enseignants du Secondaire) to support and enhance the RT program. ACCES aims to structure the work of RTs through ongoing training and supervision based on evidence from the fields of school-based mentoring, cognitive-behavioural intervention and classroom management. The objective of ACCES is to enable RTs to build productive working alliances with mentees, and to use intervention techniques that will help mentees to become more autonomous.

A quasi-experimental study involving 478 students and 55 teachers led to two significant findings. Vulnerable students participating in the enhanced RT program (ACCES) improved their learning strategies, were more academically motivated and developed more positive relationships with their teachers. The benefits of the training and mentorship experience was also transferred to the classrooms of the RTs, whose students became less anxious and better focused on mastery goals and showed greater academic motivation. These findings highlight the relevance of ACCES as a means of preventing high school dropout and invite policy makers to invest in this approach.

 

Main researcher: Simon Larose, Université Laval

Original title : Formation des enseignants-ressources au mentorat et prévention des difficultés d’adaptation scolaire des adolescents pendant la transition primaire-secondaire

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