Evaluating Motivational Interviewing Workshop training for academics and support staff to enhance student engagement

Trevor Simper & Ray Nolan

Parallel session 2, Short Paper 2.10

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Short Abstract
The aim of this work is to evaluate the effectiveness of a basic level of training in the approach of Motivational Interviewing with some follow-up coaching- as a potentially useful tool for academics and student support staff to enhance student engagement in and out of the classroom.

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Detailed Outline
Dr Trevor Simper will provide a conceptual context and guidance around the approach of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and its potential application to teaching and learning. Ray Nolan will critically discuss the benefits derived from completing a 2-day introductory workshop on MI.

MI is an approach used in the addictions and healthcare field proven to be effective in facilitating behaviour change (Miller, Rollnick & Butler, 2008) examples include: substance abuse, diabetes and weight management. Central to the approach of MI is a four-step process; engaging, evoking, focussing and planning between client and practitioner (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). In the context of this study MI helps student identify solutions to their own problems and engender engagement which is fostered through accurate empathy. Thus the benefits of MI in teaching and learning arise from improved educator-learner engagement. This supports the learner and equally promotes self-directed learning in the classroom as well as personal and professional development outside the classroom. MI can be connected with ‘self-determination theory’ (Ryan and Deci, 1986) which essentially asserts that autonomous motivation to perform a given behaviour is stronger than extrinsically motivated reason for change.

The approach of MI was interpreted and applied with a variety of learners in one to one and group sessions; support within professional academic advisor sessions, one to one dyslexia support sessions and group teaching within module seminars at level 6 (year three undergraduate). The effectiveness of the approach, relative to the tutors experience will be discussed alongside initial impressions from students in relation to engagement- in this ongoing psr/research activity.

The results from this investigation are suggestive of how a brief introduction to motivational interviewing with coaching and feedback can enhance engagement with learners. Specific techniques or ‘micro-skills’ such as: Open Questions, Affirmations, Reflections, Summaries (OARS) and E-P-E (Elicit Provide Elicit) are contextualized to classroom and non-classroom settings and discussed briefly.

DECI, E.L. RYAN, R.M. (1986). The empirical exploration of intrinsic motivational processes in L. Berkowitz (ed) Advances in experimental social psychology Vol.13, pp39-80 new York, academic Press
MILLER, W.R. ROLLNICK, S. (2012). Meeting in the middle: motivational interviewing and self-determination theory. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 9:25.
MILLER, W.R. ROLLNICK, S. (2013). Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. NY: Guilford Press
MILLER, W.R. ROLLNICK, S. BUTLER, C (2008). Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change. NY: Guilford Press