With a post-pandemic perspective, psychologist and specialist in academic success, Egide Royer, offers five opportunities to seize to promote the well-being of young people. He recently exhibited them as part of the Distant but Present in Secondary Education (ÀDMPES) event, organized by the Quebec Interdisciplinary Education Council (CPIQ).
1- Improve mental health literacy
“There has never been so much talk about mental health and for good reason! If a young person is not feeling well, how can he be in a position to learn? †
However, with the pandemic, depressive and anxious symptoms have increased among young people, especially girls, Mr. Royer, citing the longitudinal study of childhood development in Quebec.
According to him, teachers can make small, simple gestures on a daily basis to offer what he describes as “mental health first aid.” Take a few minutes at the start of the day to take an interest in the students, ask them how they are feeling, remind them of relaxation strategies before an exam, congratulate them and encourage success. “We are not asking teachers to become mental health specialists, only to develop preventive intervention reflexes. †
2- Pursue the development of the educational use of technologies
The pandemic has led schools to massively equip themselves with technological devices, teachers to discover new teaching tools. According to Mr Royer, the exploration of these sources should be continued by referring to “research to provide clear indications on the pedagogical best use of technologies”.
He sees it more specifically as “a kind of promise” for young people in difficulty or behind in school. The use of digital technology has also made it possible to increase support and to vary the forms of guidance for these students: tutoring, Alloprof bonuses, online summer courses. “Services are offered and ways of doing things that are beneficial to them. In addition, according to him, there are customers for whom distance learning has added value.
3- Intensify upstream interventions with vulnerable young people
The use of technologies is one of the elements of intervention for students in difficulty. The man who has made academic success his pet peeve for years reiterated the importance of quickly identifying vulnerable young people and increasing the number of interventions they have, especially among boys who he believes are ‘under-educated’ in Quebec.
He spoke about offering mentoring programs to students to support them. “Those with mentors drop out less in high school,” he said, before giving the example of students mentoring young high school students in the Valleyfield region. He also recalled the importance of presenting success models to young people. “We have a lot of female role models, and that’s okay, but let’s not forget the boys. †
4- Develop a common policy for services for students with special needs
32% of public secondary students are considered to be students with special needs. “It’s huge and it’s not natural. according to mr. Royer no longer sustains the current model that relies on medical diagnosis to provide services to students. “We spend way too much time evaluating students, let’s intervene! †
He proposes to use the intervention-response model to determine adaptations rather than offer diagnostic measures. It also invites us to ensure greater consistency and continuity between secondary school and CEGEP and to consider a common reform (primary, secondary, college) of service policies for young people with special needs.
5- Use research and evidence to make decisions
Because of the pandemic, the media has never talked about scientific research like this. According to Mr Royer, the education world should also become interested in what is happening on the research side. Best practices identified by researchers should be able to be more widely disseminated, he says.
“Like public health, our decisions and interventions in education should be research-based as much as possible,” concluded the man campaigning for the creation of a National Institute of Excellence in Education (inspired by the National Institute of Excellence in Public Health). .