A Mixed-Methods Efficacy Study of Teaching Adolescents to Think and Act Responsibly–The EQUIP Approach: A Narrative Filmmaking Pedagogy
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Ontario’s Ministry of Education requires Character Development to be integrated into regular subject curricula (OME, 2008), yet the initiative is devoid of clearly defined research-based strategies for implementation (Bajovic, Rizzo & Engemann, 2009). The purpose of this mixed-methods (QUAN + qual) study was to examine the effectiveness of an evidence-based multicomponent psycho-educational program: The EQUIP Approach: Teaching Adolescents to Think and Act Responsibly (DiBiase, Gibbs, Potter & Blount, 2012) as it was implemented through the pedagogical tool of Narrative filmmaking in a Technological Education course. A 2 x 2 Repeated Measures MANOVA was conducted in a sample of 102 students, aged 14-18 years (M = 16.12), to address the research questions: 1) Is there a relationship between the three dependent psychometric measures, the How I Think (HIT) questionnaire, the Social Skills Improvement System - Rating Scale (SSIS-RS), and the Socio-moral Reflection Measure–Short Form (SRM-SF); and 2) Do the groups (i.e., the group receiving The EQUIP Approach (DiBiase et al., 2012) through the narrative filmmaking pedagogy (referred to as the EQUIP-NF Group) versus the group receiving the regular method of Character Education (referred to as the Control Group) differ across the HIT, the SSIS, and the SRM-SF from pre to post-test? Qualitative interviews were analyzed to address the supporting qualitative research question: How do the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and insights of both groups (the EQUIP-NF Group and the Control Group) explain and/or expand on the experimental results? It was found that when delivered through the narrative filmmaking pedagogy, The EQUIP Approach (DiBiase et al., 2012) was an effective psychoeducational intervention, impacting the multi-component constructs of EQUIP (i.e., reducing students’ anger inducing cognitive distortions, developing students’ moral reasoning skills, and improving social skills), while concurrently satisfying Ontario’s mandate to integrate Character Development into regular subject curriculum.