Research Roundup: Social and Emotional Learning

Welcome to Research Roundup. The purpose of this recurring column is to make the vast amount of research related to youth and families accessible to you.

While preparing the Research Roundup on Social and Emotional Learning for the Winter issue of YALS, I learned that there would be a flurry of publishing in late 2018 and early 2019 in the field of social and emotional learning. This update highlights some of these developments:

  • The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development released From a Nation at Risk to a Nation of Hope in January 2019. It is the result of two years of study and conversations with experts, practitioners, and parents across the nation. It provides synthesis, case studies and recommendations for future work.  The report makes six recommendations:
    • Set a clear vision that broadens the definition of student success to prioritize the whole child.
    • Transform learning settings so they are safe and supportive for all young people.
    • Change instruction to teach students social, emotional, and cognitive skills; embed these skills in academics and school wide practices.
    • Build adult expertise in child development.
    • Align resources and leverage partners in the community to address the whole child.
    • Forge closer connections between research and practice by shifting the paradigm for how research gets done.
  • CASEL’s Measuring SEL: Using Data To Inspire Practice has published a number of research briefs. I found this brief particularly useful: Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis. Measuring SEL also hosted two design challenges, which give you the chance to learn about SEL assessment tools developed by practitioners.
  • In December 2018, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published an issue brief Social and Emotional Development Matters: Taking Action Now for Future Generations which gives an overview of key findings and links to reports on specific aspects of SEL that the foundation developed from 2017 until now.
  • The University of Minnesota recently updated its SEL Toolkit. The toolkit uses the Ways of Being SEL Model developed by the University of Minnesota. It focuses on youth in middle school, but provides many activities that can be adjusted for other ages. Many of these activities are applicable to out-of-school time programming.

Submitted by Committee member Bernie Farrell.

New Special-Themed Issue of JRLYA, Vol.10 N.1: Movements that Affect Teens

I am pleased to announce the publication of a special themed issue of YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries & Young Adults (JRLYA). Volume 10, Issue 1 features three papers that examined movements that affect teens through the lens of literature, and how literature reflects certain movements.

#wndb; #metoo
In the first part of a two-part series, Kasey L. Garrison examined the portrayals of various facets of culture in a sample of teen literature from two Australian book awards in her article, “What’s Going on Down Under? Part 1: Portrayals of Culture in Award-Winning Australian Young Adult Literature.” Garrison found that the most prevalent cultural theme was gender, which was situated in stories that focused on issues of harassment or body image.  From her analysis and discussion of culture in this sample, Garrison concluded that Australian literature for teens holds a great deal of potential to serve as the impetus for discussions about social justice issues and movements such as the #metoo movement.

#curestigma; #stigmafree 
Responding to the increasing number of books for teens being published about people with mental illness, Diane Scrofano explored how the narratives of characters with mental illness are being situated. In her article, “Disability Narrative Theory and Young Adult Fiction of Mental Illness,” Scrofano used the narrative categories of restitution, chaos, and quest narratives to understand how characters with mental illness were being portrayed in 50 novels for teens. Scrofano discusses the implications of each narrative category and recommends that librarians and educators try to share more stories of mental illness in which characters have full and meaningful lives beyond their illnesses.

#antiwar
In her paper, “One, Two, Three, Four! We Don’t Want Your F**king War! The Vietnam Antiwar Movement in Young Adult Fiction,” Deborah Wilson Overstreet examined the depictions of the anti-Vietnam War movement in young adult novels, through the lens of three distinct narrative structures. Her findings suggest that the ways in which this sample of books depicts the responses of and to the anti-war movement, may not align with the historical record. Wilson Overstreet concluded her research by discussing the importance of providing today’s teen readers with accurate depictions of activism in order to help readers understand how they can effectively make their voices heard.

JRLYA is YALSA’s open-access, peer-reviewed research journal, located at: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with teens. Writer’s guidelines are located at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/.

Robin A. Moeller, editor, JRLYA

Tips for Submitting an Article to YALSA’s Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults (JRLYA)

Greetings from the JRLYA Advisory Board! Have you ever thought about submitting an article to #JRLYA, but maybe you need a refresher in how to prepare an article for a peer-reviewed journal?  Well then, this blog post is for you! Following is a list of tips to help you get your work ready to submit:

  1. First, do a bit of research.  If you’re not a regular reader of the journal in question, look at a few articles in some of the previous issues to make sure your work will fit.
  2. Next, carefully read the call for submissions, if there is one, and make sure your article clearly connects to the theme.
  3. If there is no specific theme, make sure that your article is a good fit for the journal.  Is your subject matter appropriate?  (In the case of #JRLYA, does your article report research related to teens (ages 12 – 18) and libraries?)
  4. Carefully read the writer’s guidelines.  Is your paper formatted correctly?  Do you know how and when to submit it, and to whom?  (For #JRLYA, you can find the writer’s guidelines here: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/author-guidelines/)
  5. If you are submitting to a journal that primarily publishes research articles (like #JRLYA), rather than a trade journal, is your article written in scholarly language?  Generally, this means more formal, as opposed to conversational, English.
  6. Usually, articles prepared for peer-reviewed journals follow a basic format: Introduction > Literature Review > Purpose/Research Question(s) > Methods > Results > Conclusion(s)
    1. Introduction: the introduction should give a brief overview of the subject matter and a focus for the rest of the paper (the intro is usually around 1-2 paragraphs).
    2. Literature Review: the literature review should summarize the existing body of related work.
    3. Purpose/Research Question(s): here you should state the purpose of the research and/or the research questions that drove the project’s design and implementation (this is generally not more than a paragraph or two).
    4. Methods: what did you do?  What were your methods?  Summarize your approach step by step.
    5. Results: this is where you give your facts and figures – what did the data show?
    6. Conclusions: this is where you tell the audience why they should care about the research you conducted – what did the data analysis bring to light that makes this important? Also, what still needs to be done?
  7. Finally, PROOFREAD! Articles are often rejected due to poor grammar and multiple typos.

Hopefully, this blog post has demystified the article prep process a bit.  We hope that you will consider writing up your project and submitting it to #JRLYA!  You can contact the journal editor at yalsaresearch@gmail.com, and be sure to check out the latest issue at http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/!

Call for Papers: Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults

Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults (JRLYA), the official research journal of YALSA, is currently accepting submissions for a special themed issue. It will highlight research related to social justice issues and public and school library services for teens. Researchers, librarians, graduate students, and others who conduct research related to teens (ages 12 – 18) and libraries are invited to submit manuscripts. Papers describing both scholarly research (qualitative, quantitative, or theory development) as well as action research are welcome for peer review and consideration of publication. Papers that report library programs but lack an original research component will not be considered.

View the writer’s guidelines here. Email manuscripts by December 5, 2016, to editor Denise Agosto at: yalsaresearch@gmail.com.

JRLYA is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal located. Its purpose is to enhance the development of theory, research, and practice to support young adult library services. JRLYA presents original research concerning: 1) the informational and developmental needs of teens; 2) the management, implementation, and evaluation of young adult library services; and 3) other critical issues relevant to librarians who work with this population.

 

Impact on teen friendships in an age of technology

It’s hard to go through a day without seeing a teen using some piece of technology. Sometimes it seems like they are glued to their phones (similar to their adult counterparts), even when they are walking. Or you’ll see many of them together, snapping and Instagraming their afternoon at the local coffeeshop.

How does all this technology impact teen friendships? As a teenager, friendships are crucial. Your friends become your sounding board, provide advice and support you in times of need, and become a pseudo family as you head towards adulthood. The Pew Research Center was curious about this and in 2014-2015 conducted a nation-wide survey of teens aged 13-17. The report, Teens, Technology, and Friendships, was published in August 2015 and I think it sheds some light on teens’ communication style.

From the report, I pulled three main ideas. The report is jammed packed with interesting statistics and worth a look through. But for a condensed version…

Making friends online

According to the teens surveyed, 57% reported that they had made a friend online at some point. However, it was less likely that these online friends turned into people teens met in person (only 20%). When you break up the 57% of teens who have made at least one friend online, it was more likely these teens were older (15-17 years old).

Boys were more likely to have made online friends through video games (the networked component that allows you to play with other people online playing the same game) while girls were more likely to make friends through social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram).

The so what: As I was reading this section of the report, I thought back to growing up and writing pen pal letters to students either in the United States or across the world. Could something like this be replicated through video games or social media platforms by the library? Perhaps if a library has a video game system for teens to use, they could pair up with another library who has the same video game so their teens could play against and with each other? Or the teens could “take over” a social media platform that the library uses to communicate with teens and talk to another teen department at another library?

Keeping in touch with friends

Regardless if the friend was made online or is an in-person friend, texting is the popular means to communicate with them. Teens reported that 49% used texting as their main form of communication with friends. Other forms of communication included instant messaging, social media platforms (and direct messaging), email, video chat, phone calls, video games, and other messaging apps (Kik or WhatsApp). Many teens said that the medium to communicate was based on the type of friendship they had with the other person. Only the closest friends would be eligible for a phone call, while newer friends were easier to text or talk to in another messaging app. It was interesting that 85% of teens said they had called their friends at some point (analog is not dead!).

The so what: Teens have created a system for building trust in friendships seen through how they communicate with each other. They have rules for how to communicate with each other and these look different than how we might be use to communicating with friends. By seeing that this sample of teens is more likely to use written word to communicate can better help us understand the teens we serve (and what sort of programs could happen with this framework in mind).

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Teen Research Trending: What do we do about Twilight: Continuing the conversation.

Jarvis, Christine. “The Twilight of Feminism? Stephanie Meyer’s Saga and the Contradictions of Contemporary Girlhood.”  Children’s Literature in Education, 45 (2014): 101-115.

As a subscriber of yalsa-bk, YALSA’s listserv about young adult books, I was interested to see a few months ago through messages posted to the listserv that we as professionals still struggle with what do about the Twilight series. Much has been written and discussed regarding the problematic themes in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga, including (but not limited to) issues of abuse and power imbalance.  At the same time, these books have proven to be wildly popular and have served as “the hook” that has opened the door to reading for many adolescents.  

Jarvis acknowledged the problematic themes inherent in this series in her introduction to her own research, in which she attempts to make sense of the enormous appeal of these books by a population of girls whose cultural context no longer reflects the stereotypical gender norms of the early-mid 20th century that Jarvis and others claim are portrayed in this series.  Jarvis researches the transformative nature of literature at the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom where she also serves as the dean of education and professional development and professor of teaching and learning in higher education.

In her research, Jarvis identified and examined two tropes she found in the Twilight series – the beauty makeover and the runaway heroine.    She analyzed these tropes through the lens of research conducted by education scholars that has examined social and academic pressures that girls face today in schools.  Such research suggests that girls experience a great deal of tension in their lives.  Girls today understand that they’re not supposed to be defined by their appearance but by their success in academics and, later, in the job world.  At the same time girls seemingly judge themselves and others by their appearance and their abilities to attain unachievable standards of beauty.  As Jarvis noted, “Girls are in charge of their own destinies – they can be anything. They are in charge of their own bodies – they can make them slim, smooth, and immaculately groomed and fashionable” (p. 105).

Jarvis noted that the trope of the beauty makeover is one often used in Western popular culture; however, with regard to the Twilight saga, Jarvis explained that Bella experiences multiple beauty makeovers, which she rejects as someone who does not care about physical beauty, but ultimately receives anyway.  This allows readers to enjoy both the character’s feminist perspective and her acceptance of the importance of feminine beauty standards.

Jarvis also examined the trope of the runaway heroine in the Twilight novels.  In various episodes in the books, Bella places herself in danger when she experiences anger toward Edward at times in which he takes actions that prevent the couple of being together or furthering their relationship.  Bella has placed her relationship with Edward above all other concerns and thus feels extreme pressure to succeed.  Jarvis argued that the kind of self-harm that Bella enacts serves as both acts of revenge for Edward’s actions as well as reminders to Edward of the preciousness of Bella’s life.  In other words, you’ve learned your lesson: don’t do it again.

Jarvis argued that understanding the contradictions girls feel today may help us better understand how Twilight serves as a fantasy vehicle by which girls can mentally resolve the pressure they feel to reject traditional gender norms while also succumbing to them.  While the Twilight series may (or may not) be losing popularity with young adult readers, the issues Jarvis presented exist in other, more recent YA books.  Jarvis’ research may help us better understand how series like Twilight appeal to readers and better help practitioners look for other YA book recommendations that can help girls make sense of this tension.

Robin A. Moeller is an assistant professor of Library Science at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina where she researches visual representations of information as they apply to young adults.

 

Expanded-Learning, Collaborations, and How the Library Can Help

A recent report from America’s Promise Alliance looks at four communities who strove to expand opportunities for their underserved students. With support from the Ford Foundation, these communities leveraged local resources to expand opportunities in a variety of ways.

America’s Promise Alliance is an organization, founded in 1997 with the support from former Secretary of State Colin Powell and previous presidents: Nancy Reagan (standing in for her husband Ronald Reagan), Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. The organization strives to create places and situations for students to succeed.

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YALSABlog Tweets of the Week – October 23rd, 2015

A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.

Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between October 23 and October 29 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
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Using Technology to Help At-Risk Teens

Public libraries are, as ALA President Courtney Young said in a July 2014 Comcast Newsmaker interview, “digital learning centers.”’  We are able to provide access to computers, wireless capabilities, and also a space to learn. Access to technology becomes even more important to our “at-risk” teens; the library becomes a safe spot to use these resources. The question becomes how do we help them use this technology and learn from it? Earlier this month, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) published a report titled “Using Technology to Support At-Risk Students’ Learning.” This brief defines “at-risk” students as high schoolers with personal and academic factors that would could cause them to fail classes or drop out of school all together. They give three variables for success, real-life examples to why these variables work, and then recommend policies to help achieve these variables. While the article was geared towards schools, these variables are important to keep in mind as we work with the teens in our libraries.

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