Finnish academic to review school-wide positive behaviour support and interventions

Belinda Bantham -- Wed, 09/12/2018 - 09:39

Finnish academic to review school-wide positive behaviour support and interventions

The North-West University’s (NWU’s) Optentia research focus area in Vanderbijlpark will be hosting Prof Hannu Savolainen from the Department of Education at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. During his visit, he will deliver a lecture on School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support and Interventions (SWPBIS) on 12 September 2018.

ProSchool (ProKoulu in Finnish) is an initiative aimed at building a new environment into Finnish schools which will support the behaviour of all students and seeks to prevent behavioural problems.

The approach is based on the philosophy and principles of SWPBIS which have gained increasing attention as a worthwhile effort to build more inclusive schools in the United States of America and more recently in many European countries.

During his lecture Prof Savolainen will discuss the background of SWPBIS and how it differs from traditional punitive approaches to address behavioural problems in schools. Prof Savolainen will describe the background on why the programme was launched in Finland and how they adapted the international approach to the Finnish school environment to make it more culturally relevant. He will also describe the contents of the programme and how it is run in schools, and will review the first results from their large-scale randomised controlled trial (70 schools) that took place between 2013 and 2017.

Prof Savolainen will conclude with a discussion of possible steps to upscale the programme and further expand it to include earlier and later phases of schooling.

More about the expert

Prof Hannu Savolainen is a professor in special education in the Department of Education at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and an extraordinary professor at the Optentia research focus area. In addition to being a researcher, Prof Savolainen has been active in developing co-operation within special and inclusive education, in particular with Ethiopia, Zambia and the Balkans area.

He has also served as a key person in the UNESCO Flagship programme: “he Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion” that functioned as a part of the Education for All (EFA) programme. More recently Prof Savolainen has served as a member in the Finnish national commission for UNESCO and for six years in the Research Council of Culture and Society of the Academy of Finland.

His major research interests are experimental and longitudinal research on SWPBIS and international comparative education research on teachers´ roles, attitudes and self-efficacy in inclusive education. Prof Savolainen has had a long-standing interest in quantitative methodology, in particular longitudinal methods and SEM modelling.

The lecture will take place on 12 September 2018 from 13:30 to 17:00 in the Optentia Indaba Room in Building 7, room G13. A cost of R100 per person applies and limited seats are available.

For enquiries, please contact Lynn Booysen at