The impact of youth gang awareness training on school personnel Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/1544br48s

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  • The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of youth gang awareness training on school personnel. Middle and high school level teachers, counselors, and school administrators in a rural Oregon school district were the focus of this study. Six specially designed modules were created by the researcher and used to train school personnel (N=122). Subjects received four hours of gang awareness training conducted by the researcher and participants completed a questionnaire administered at the conclusion of the training session. From this pool of subjects, ten individuals were selected to participate in in-depth interviews conducted eight to twelve weeks following the initial gang awareness inservice training. Data obtained from the questionnaire and in-depth interviews were analyzed and organized to address the primary question of the study: Will inservice training based on specially designed modules improve an educator's awareness or understanding of youth gang issues? The results of this study led the researcher to conclude that gang awareness training was effective in increasing the level of awareness and understanding of youth gang issues for school personnel in a rural school district. It was further concluded that training modules which contained a significant amount of information posed a challenge for school personnel to effectively retain the information and that their understanding of the material diminished in the weeks following the initial training session. The results indicated that some subjects may have experienced difficulty in transferring their new skills into practice and were in need of direct coaching on how to apply their new skills. Specific recommendations made by the researcher to help guide future research in this important area include the need to: identify the risk and protective factors for gang involvement in the three phases of social development for youths (elementary, middle, and high school), address the research of Joyce and Showers (1980) and identify the most effective combination of training methods to inservice school personnel, deliver gang awareness training at the elementary and middle school level before youths are involved in gangs, and encourage teacher preparation institutions to include youth gang awareness training in their programs for aspiring teachers, counselors, and school administrators.
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