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UCLA School Mental Health Project
Center for Mental Health in Schools
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Continuing Education:

Addressing Barriers to Learning
New Directions for Mental Health in Schools

About Course Format & Introduction

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About Course Format

The continuing education module entitled Addressing Barriers to Learning: New Directions for Mental Health in Schools consists of an evolving set of modular units focused on addressing barriers to student learning. Each unit consists of several sections designed to stand alone. Thus, the total set can be used and taught in a straight forward sequence, or one or more units and sections can be combined into a personalized course. This design also allows learners to approach the material as they would use an internet website (i.e., exploring specific topics of immediate interest and then going over the rest in any order that feels comfortable). The units were conceived in a sequence that reflects the designers' preference for starting with a big picture framework for understanding the context and emerging directions for mental health in schools.

To the Learner

Beginning each section are specific objectives and focusing questions meant to help guide reading and review. Interspersed throughout each section are boxed material designed to help you think in greater depth about the material. Test questions are provided at the end of each section as an additional study aid.

If feasible, establish a study group. Such a group not only can help facilitate the learning of new ideas and skills, it lays a great foundation for ongoing networking, social support, and team building. These, of course, are important ingredients in maintaining morale and minimizing burnout as you deal with difficult problems each day at your school.

We have a set of Accompanying Materials that can provide you with enrichment learning opportunities on key topics as well as with specific resource and technical aids to assist you in applying what you are learning.

To Curriculum Designers Adopting this Material

The material can be incorporated into various formats:
(1) self-study (individual or group)

(2) participation in workshops (a half or full day continuing education workshop; a sequence of district-wide inservice workshops)

(3) media and computer courses (instructional television -- live, and if feasible, interactive; video or audiotaped courses; computer courses, an internet offering)

(4) a professional journal offering a continuing education series.

Introduction to the Manual

Schools committed to the success of all children must have an array of activity designed to address barriers to learning. No one is certain of the exact number of students who require assistance in dealing with such barriers. There is consensus, however, that significant barriers are encountered by too many students. Among these barriers are a host of psychosocial and mental health concerns.

Each day school staff are confronted with many students who are doing poorly in school as a result of health and psychosocial problems. Increasingly, personnel at school find it necessary to do something more than their original training prepared them to do. At the same time, education reform and restructuring are changing the whole fabric of schools and calling upon all pupil services personnel to expand their roles and functions.

As a result, school staff need to acquire new ways of thinking about how schools should address barriers to learning and they need additional skills to equip them for emerging new roles and functions. This continuing education module is designed to help meet these needs.

This set of three units focuses on the role of schools in addressing psychosocial and mental health problems that interfere with students' learning and performance.