The aim of this study was to explore whether a ten week Cognitive
Behavioural programme (FRIENDS) was acceptable to children, parents and
teachers. FRIENDS is designed for use in schools with whole classes of
children, aged seven to eleven years old.
The study took place in a primary school in the South East of England. The
programme was delivered by the researcher to a year three class and year
five class of children. Following each session, children were asked to
complete a questionnaire exploring their experiences. Two weeks after the
end of the programme, six children from year three and five children from year
five were interviewed in separate focus groups, to find out what they thought
about FRIENDS. Similarly, four parents were interviewed in a focus group,
and three teachers were interviewed individually to explore their experiences
of FRIENDS. Thus, key stakeholders' views about FRIENDS were gathered.
Analysis of the findings suggested that participants thought FRIENDS was a
positive experience for them. However, year five children mentioned less
positive experiences than the other participants, and teachers and parents
highlighted the positive experience for the children, rather than for
themselves. All participants identified negative experiences, including; the
homework and the difficulty in accessing the programme because of the
ability needed and reliance on reading and writing activities. Participants
often identified areas of improvement linked to their negative experiences,
e.g. to use differentiation, to cater for different learning styles. Children and
parents felt that FRIENDS had made an impact through its teaching of skills,
such that children applied some of the skills taught, which bought about
positive behavioural changes in the children.
The theoretical underpinnings, relevant literature and findings from this
research are discussed in relation to implications for professional practice and
future recommendations for research.
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