Skip to main content

Table 1 Description of the EmpaTeach intervention

From: Preventing violence against children in schools (PVACS): protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial of the EmpaTeach behavioural intervention in Nyarugusu refugee camp

Aims and Content
1) To Help teachers to focus on their values, to facilitate receptivity to new information and to improve their self-efficacy and motivate them;
2) To provide Information about the harmful effects of corporal punishment on children’s health, reflection exercises to build teachers’ empathy for children experiencing corporal punishment;
3) To provide Information about alternative discipline techniques for classroom management, including de-escalation strategies and techniques to reward positive behaviours;
4) to provide Information and exercises to improve teachers’ emotional regulation, based on cognitive behavioural therapy, including re-framing and de-escalation; identification of triggers for impulsive reaction in stressful situations and exploring how thoughts and feelings lead to different reactions;
5) To Help teachers to plan for change, by creating specific actions plans to respond to student’s positive and negative behaviour, and taking account of contextual reasons for student behaviour (for example, students falling asleep because of hunger or illness, or refusing to stand up during menstruation);
6) To Highlight people’s potential to change and adapt, alerting teachers that children’s behaviour may become worse before it becomes better as children test boundaries and adapt to new classroom methods; building teachers’ confidence in their own ability to adapt; and training teachers to reward and reprimand specific behaviours rather than character traits in children;
7) To Facilitate a group support system, so teachers can discuss their experiences withothers and receive social support.
A BIT program developer, IRC education technical unit staff, and local refugee incentive workers provide a 3-day training to 85 teachers who have been nominated as group coordinators by their peers. Each group coordinator facilitates the 10-week programme with a group of 6–11 teachers. The first 4 sessions are condensed into two four-hour sessions delivered over two weekend days. The remainder of the sessions are held weekly until the end of the programme, and last about 1–1.5 h each – with the exception of Weeks 5 and 11 when groups meet a second time to further engage with the techniques they have learned to date by playing an interactive learning game. The teachers do homework each week, taking about 30 min. They also receive 2 SMS per week from their group coordinators to reinforce aspects of the group sessions or homework.
Each session starts with a review of the previous week’s session, reflection on key concepts and sharing of homework, including any challenges encountered. This is followed by an introduction of a short slogan capturing the main learning of the session. This is followed by a series of stories that illustrate a hypothetical but common classroom situation and reflection activities, and presentation and discussion of simple classroom management and self-regulation activities they can use, followed by homework that allows real-world practice of new techniques in teachers’ own classrooms
A booklet developed specifically to self-guide teachers through each of the 14 sessions in the programme was developed by BIT and IRC in English, and translated into Kiswahili and Kirundi. The booklet contains learning materials for all sessions and space to complete homework assignments. For six of the sessions, there are accompanying videos that were produced locally as part of the intervention. A shared tablet computer is required for each group to view the videos during the sessions. Session 5, which involves learning how to co-create classroom rules with students, requires a large piece of posterboard paper, a marker, and tape or glue to affix the paper to the wall. All teachers are served lunch during the introductory meeting and the programme ending party. Groups decide where they want to meet, and most make use of empty classrooms at schools.